The value of new construction starts increased 5% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $488.5 billion, it was reported by the F.W. Dodge Division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (New York). A surge of public works and electric power plant projects boosted the level of total construction, with an added push coming from an increase for nonresidential building.
"September's rebound is likely just a brief departure from a more general downward trend, but it does indicate that the loss of momentum for construction continues to be moderate," stated Robert A. Murray, vice president of economic affairs for Dodge. "Through much of 2001, the strength shown by public works and electric utilities has offset decreased activity by other sectors of the construction industry, and this pattern was repeated in September. At the same time, this balancing role will be more difficult to maintain in the coming months. Commercial building is expected to see further declines, and housing is only at the beginning of its period of reduced contracting."