The pace of new construction starts in May was essentially the same as April, according to McGraw-Hill Construction Dodge, a division of The McGraw- Hill Companies. The stability for total construction, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $481.1 billion, was the result of May's improved housing activity offsetting declines for nonresidential building and nonbuilding construction (public works and electric utilities). For the first five months of 2003, total construction was 5% below the same period a year ago.
"The construction industry has lost some momentum during 2003, but so far it's been a controlled descent," stated Robert A. Murray, vice president of economic affair for McGraw-Hill Construction Dodge. "Housing continues to move at a healthy clip, and while commercial building is still weakening, its rate of decline is not as severe as a year ago. At the same time, tighter fiscal conditions have dampened both institutional building and public works, marking a change from their performance during 2001 and 2002."