A sharp 12.8 percent decline in construction in the Midwest and a 3.7 dip in the Northeast propelled the broader decrease, with construction also falling in the South. It was nearly unchanged in the West.
New Jersey's economy kicked into a higher gear in December as the unemployment rate tumbled to 5.1 percent, but uncertainty over public pensions and a fund to pay for road and bridge work threaten the state's credit rating, according to a pair of separate reports out Thursday.
The U.S. economy grew at a slightly slower pace over the summer than the government had previously estimated. Most economists foresee a slight acceleration in the current quarter and stronger growth in the first half of 2016.