Total construction spending in February was revised lower to $871.2 billion. In March, spending on private and public construction projects fell to $856.7 billion, said the bureau, which is part of the U.S. Commerce Department.
Spending in March came to 4.8 percent more than March 2012, when $817.8 billion was spent on construction projects on a seasonally adjusted annual basis.
Spending on private-sector projects in March totaled $598.4 billion, 0.6 percent below February's revised estimate of $602 billion.
In the month, $294.9 billion was spent on residential projects, a 0.4 percent gain over February, and $303.5 billion spent on non-residential projects, a 1.5 percent drop from February.
The estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of public construction spending in February was $258.3 billion, a 4.1 percent drop from February, the Census Bureau said.
Educational construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $62.8 billion, down 2.9 percent from February, while highway construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $73.8 billion, off 5.2 percent from February.