At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $817.4 billion, new construction starts in July fell 9 percent from the elevated pace reported in June, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. The latest month’s decline followed strong gains for total construction starts during the previous two months, with May up 14 percent and June up 11 percent.

By major sector, nonresidential building dropped 22 percent after soaring 59 percent in June, which had been lifted by the start of two massive manufacturing plants and two massive office buildings. While July did see several large manufacturing and office projects reach groundbreaking, they were not the same magnitude as what took place in June.

The other two major sectors in July held close to their June amounts, with residential building up 2 percent and nonbuilding construction unchanged. During the first seven months of 2018, total construction starts on an unadjusted basis were $471.4 billion, up 2 percent from the same period a year ago. If the volatile electric utility/gas plant category is excluded, total construction starts during the January-July period of 2018 would be up 5 percent compared to last year.

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