New construction starts in May dropped 2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $460.8 billion, it was reported by the F.W. Dodge Division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (New York). Both nonresidential building and housing experienced a loss of momentum that was partially offset by continued expansion for public works and a surge of new power plant projects.
“At the outset of 2001, nonresidential building witnessed only a mild retreat, but its recent slide indicates that the sluggish economy and tighter bank lending standards are now exerting a more discernible dampening on this sector,” stated Robert A. Murray, vice president of economic affairs for F.W. Dodge. “At the same time, housing has held up reasonably well, and both public works and electric utility construction are maintaining their upward trend from the prior year.”