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LOCAL CONSTRUCTION RISES 5.5% IN FEBRUARY

Construction contracts increased 5.5 percent on the Niagara Frontier in February, spurred by the eighth consecutive month in which nonresidential business rose at a double-digit pace.

The F.W. Dodge Division of McGraw Hill's monthly survey found the total value of all residential and nonresidential contracts reported last month was $41.23 million, up from $39.1 million a year ago.

Nonresidential contracts jumped 58.7 percent to $27.82 million from $17.53 million one year ago. But there was no such strength in future construction on the residential side, as the value of those contracts dropped 37.7 percent to $13.41 million from $21.55 million in February 1994.

Through the first two months of 1995, total contract value is up 21.4 percent to $85.46 million from $70.38 million in 1994.

Nonresidential contract value is up 66.4 percent to $57.1 million from $34.31 million, while residential contracts are down 21.3 percent to $28.36 million from $36.1 million.

The news was not as positive statewide, as total contract value substantially dropped in February and also is down for the whole year.

The value of all nonresidential and residential contracts reported last month totaled $408.54 million, down 44.3 percent from $733.32 million a year ago.

Nonresidential contracts fell 49 percent to $276.32 million from $543.71 million, while residential contracts dropped 30 percent to $132.22 million from $189.62 million one year ago.

The statewide survey also measures a third category, nonbuilding, which includes such projects as street and highway construction, along with infrastructure, airport and communications system projects. In February, that category was down 9 percent from one year ago, to $152.22 million from $167.36 million.

So far this year, the total value of all nonresidential and residential contracts was $1.1 billion, off 15.8 percent from $1.27 billion last year. Nonbuilding contracts were up 51 percent to $420.75 million from $278.8 million.

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