New Construction starts slipped in May

Soaring interest rates and budgetary restraint combined to deepen the decline of contracting for new construction in May, as the month's volume of contracts sagged around 7 percent below April's already weak total, reports the F. W. Dodge division of the McGraw-Hill Information Systems Co.

May's $13.4 billion of new construction starts brought the seasonally adjusted Dodge index of total construction contract value to 160 (1972 100), down 7 percent from April's 172 and 22 percent below last November's peak. The latest month's annualized rate of contracting, at $145.3 billion, was the lowest of the past nine months, slipping below 1980's average le vel of $147.3 billion for the first time this year.

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