Contracting for new construction fell 3% in July to an annual rate of $434.4 billion, according to the F.W. Dodge Division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Nonresidential building slipped following a strong June, while public works construction improved. “After a strong first quarter of 2000, construction activity began to settle back during the second quarter, and it now appears that the third quarter will see a continuation of this trend,” said Robert A. Murray, vice president of economic affairs for F.W. Dodge.
Nonresidential building dropped 8% in July to $150.6 billion. Posting declines were warehouses, down 14%; hotels, down 19%; office buildings, down 20%; health care facilities, down 25%; and amusement-related projects, down 34%. Stores and shopping centers remained even with June, as did school construction. Construction for churches gained 19% and transportation terminals surged 60%. “Even if commercial building slips back over the next few quarters, the impact on the nonresidential total should not be too severe, given the continued strength expected for such institutional categories as schools, churches, and airport terminals,” said Murray.