Australian construction work defied expectations and posted only a modest fall in the June quarter, supported by a strong engineering sector.

Construction work completed in the June quarter declined by 0.7 per cent, seasonally adjusted, to $50.1 billion, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday.

That left construction 2.2 per cent down compared to a year earlier.

Economists had expected a much weaker outcome as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Building construction fell 3.9 per cent, with residential construction down 5.5 per cent and non-residential 1.5 per cent lower.

However, engineering rose 3.8 per cent.

The data will feed into next week’s national accounts, which will confirm the Australian economy is in recession for the first time nearly 30 years.