Stronger activity in July

News McGraw-Hill Construction September 17, 2004
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New construction starts in July climbed 5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $595

New construction starts in July climbed 5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $595.1 billion, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Cos. July showed stronger activity for each of the construction industry's main sectors--nonresidential building, residential building and nonbuilding construction. For the first seven months of 2004, total construction on an unadjusted basis came to $342.4 billion, 10% higher than the corresponding period of 2003.


July's data lifted the Dodge Index to 179, up from the 170 reported for June. The current year has seen an upward trend through July, with the Dodge Index averaging 170. This compares to an average of 155 for the first seven months of 2003 and an average of 159 for the full year of 2003.


"The construction industry continues to be one of the stronger segments of the economy, amidst concerns that the late spring 'soft patch' may be leading to more extended deceleration," stated Robert Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw-Hill Construction.


Nonbuilding construction in July increased 6% to 102.8 billion. Highways and bridges climbed 9%. At the same time, however, highways and bridges remain below their 2003 pace.


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