New construction contracts slipped 1% in August to an annual rate of $436.9 billion, it was reported by the F.W. Dodge Division of The McGraw-Hill Companies.
Nonresidential building fell 3% to $145.8 billion. Several categories showed reduced activity, including warehouses, down 3%; stores, down 4%; schools, down 13%; theaters and convention centers, down 23%; hotels down 24%; and public buildings such as courthouses and detention centers, down 32%. According to Robert A. Murray, vice president of economic affairs for Dodge, “After reaching a peak in 1998, hotel construction fell 7% during 1999, due mostly to a pullback for limited service facilities. The greater weakness shown this summer may reflect heightened concern that the lodging sector has become overbuilt, and it now appears that hotel construction for the full year 2000 will see another moderate decline.”