US spending on construction rose modestly in December, led by a jump in the public sector such as highway projects, the Commerce Department reports.

Total construction spending rose to an adjusted annual rate of $US982.1 billion ($A1.27 trillion), an increase of 0.4 per cent from the revised November number, the department said on Monday.

For the private sector, construction spending edged up 0.1 per cent from November, with spending on home building gaining 0.3 per cent and spending on non-residential construction down 0.2 per cent.

Public construction spending advanced a much stronger 1.1 per cent in December. Outlays on highway construction surged 2.1 per cent, while educational construction dropped 0.6 per cent.

For all of 2014, spending on construction increased 5.6 per cent from 2013. Private construction scored a hefty 7.2 per cent gain that eclipsed the 1.8 per cent rise in the public sector.