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Construction spending rises slightly

UPDATED: Tue., June 1, 2021

WASHINGTON – U.S. construction spending rose a modest 0.2% in April as strength in housing offset further weakness in nonresidential construction.

The April increase followed a much stronger 1% gain in March, which was revised up from an initial estimate of a slight 0.2% advance. The April increase pushed construction to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.52 trillion in April, 9.8% higher than a year ago, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

Through the first four months of this year, construction activity is 5.8% higher than the same period in 2020.

Home building, a standout performer over the past year, rose 1% in April and is now 29.7% higher than a year ago, underscoring how strong home construction has been in the past year. Construction of single-family homes was up 1.3% in Aril and apartment construction rose 1.9%.

Nonresidential construction fell 0.5% in April and is 4.8% below the level of a year ago. With the lockdowns over the past year, developers have struggled with cancellations of commercial projects as businesses had more employees work from home. That is a trend many see continuing, reducing the need for more office space.

J&J talc product appeal rejected

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court is leaving in place a $2 billion verdict in favor of women who claim they developed ovarian cancer from using Johnson & Johnson talc products.

The justices did not comment Tuesday in rejecting Johnson & Johnson’s appeal. The company argued that it was not treated fairly in facing one trial involving 22 cancer sufferers who came from 12 states and different backgrounds.

A Missouri jury initially awarded the women $4.7 billion, but a state appeals court dropped two women from the suit and reduced the award to $2 billion.

The jury found that the company’s talc products contain asbestos and asbestos-laced talc can cause ovarian cancer. The company disputes both points.

Johnson & Johnson, which is based in New Brunswick, New Jersey, has stopped selling its iconic talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder in the U.S. and Canada, though it remains on the market elsewhere.

From wire reports

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