Construction spending in December totaled $1.054 trillion, 3.6% below the December 2007 level and 1.4% down from November, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. For the year, construction spending totaled $1.079 trillion, a 5.1% drop from the previous year.

Private nonresidential construction fell 0.4% for the month, but was 8.9% higher than the previous year and 15% higher for the full year. Public construction fell 0.8% for the month but was 7.0% higher from December 2007 and 7.4% higher than the previous year.

In December, layoffs involving 50 or more workers in a month from a single employer were the highest for December in more than a dozen years for six out of 21 major industry sectors, including construction, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Construction accounted for 16% of mass layoff events and 12% of associated initial unemployment claims, although the industry employs only 5% of all employees.