U.S. Construction Spending and Contracting Fell in July

NEW YORK — According to a government statement, United States construction spending fell slightly in July after its steepest drop in nearly a year in June.

Spending on building slipped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $859.4 billion in July, down 0.1 percent from its June pace of $860 billion, the Commerce Dept. said. That followed a revised 1 percent drop in June, the biggest decline since July of last year, when it fell 1.3 percent.

July's spending was 8.5 percent higher than a year ago.

“Home building is holding up very well,” said Mark Vitner, an economist with First Union Corp., Charlotte, N.C. “We are seeing parts of nonresidential construction that are beginning to weaken a little bit, mainly office and hotel construction, which are two of the most overbuilt areas of the economy.”

The value of new construction starts retreated 5 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $470 billion, according to the F.W. Dodge Division of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

“The latest month, while showing reduced activity, remains consistent with the sense that the construction industry has leveled off close to last year's pace,” said Robert Murray, vice president of economic affairs for Dodge.

Nonresidential building fell 4 percent to $156.1 billion. Residential building, at $208.2 billion, retreated 6 percent in July. Nonbuilding construction in July fell 3 percent to $105.7 billion, because of a 5 percent decline for the public works total.

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