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AREA CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS FALL 24.4% IN APRIL FROM YEAR EARLIER

A 30 percent slide in the value of residential contracts, plus continued softness in nonresidential construction, led to a 24.4 percent drop in future building activity on the Niagara Frontier reported during April, the F.W. Dodge Division of McGraw-Hill Inc. said Wednesday.

The overall negative number is not new. April marks the eighth consecutive month contract value has not exceeded the total of the same month in the previous year.

But while previous negative aggregates were depressed by large drops in the value of nonresidential contracts, April marks only the third time in eight months that residential contracts were on the minus side.

The total value of nonresidential and residential contracts recorded in Erie and Niagara counties in April was $58.1 million, compared to $76.86 million in April 1992.

Residential contract value dropped to $34.71 million from $49.91 million, while nonresidential pacts dropped 13.2 percent to $23.38 million from $26.95 million.

Individual county numbers were just as dreary. Erie County's total pact value fell 24 percent to $51.14 million from $66.96 million in April 1992.

Again, residential contracts led to the decline, falling 33 percent to $28.2 million from $41.91 million. Nonresidential pact value dropped 8 percent to $22.94 million from $25 million.

In Niagara County, overall contract value dropped 30 percent to $6.95 million from $9.9 million.

The big plunge to the north came in nonresidential contracts, down 77 percent to just $440,000 from $1.9 million in April 1992. Residential contract value dropped 19 percent to $6.5 million from $8 million.

Negative numbers were not unique to the Niagara Frontier.

Across the state, total building contract value for April was off 37 percent to $639.84 million from $1 billion.

Nonresidential contracts fell 49 percent to $341.33 million from $671.83 million, while residential contracts dropped 15 percent to $298.52 million from $350.84 million.

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