The value of new construction starts fell five percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $470.0 billion according to the F.W. Dodge Division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Compared to the previous month, moderate declines were reported for nonresidential building, residential building and non-building construction (public works and utilities.) July’s data produced a 142 reading for the Dodge Index, down from June’s revised 149 (1996=100). In four out of the last five months, construction contracting has essentially matched last year’s average for the Dodge Index, also a 142.