Total spending in the United State on construction remains volatile while manufacturing has declined.

A new report from the U.S. Commerce Department show construction spending in April increased 0.4% from the month before. In March activity fell 0.8%, after rising in February and declining 4% in January.

The $860.8 billion annual rate is 4.3% higher than compared to April 2012.

Keeping April’s performance from doing better was a 1.2% drop in projects involving public spending, the biggest decline since 2006, while private residential construction fell 0.1%.

In contrast, private non-residential construction increased 2.2%.

A separate report shows U.S. manufacturing activity contracted in May for the first time since November, only the second time this has happened since 2009.

The Institute of Supply Management’s monthly index registered 49% after coming in at 50.7% in April. Any number below 50 indicates activity in this sector of the economy is shrinking. 

The reading, based on survey of manufacturing supply managers, is the latest indication the economy is encountering a period that many analysts feel will be softer in the current quarter than compared to the first one.

ISM's New Orders Index registered 48.8% in May, a decrease of 3.5% points when compared to the April reading.

ISM's Production Index registered 48.6% in May, which is a decrease of 4.9% points when compared to April.