Construction starts may have slipped 1.9% in June, but in July -- not including residential contracts and not seasonally adjusted -- they surged 18.3% totaling $21.4 billion, according to Reed Construction Data. However, the July starts were 6.6% lower than the year-ago level. Institutional building starts jumped 37% in July, while industrial construction indicated "major fluctuations in the monthly numbers," writes Bernard Markstein, RCD's chief economist.

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