BURBANK, CA-Los Angeles County suffered the second-steepest decline in non-residential construction in the state for the first eight months of this year, according to the Burbank-based Construction Industry Research Board (CIRB).

Statistics from the non-profit research board show that private non-residential construction was down $659.1 million in L.A. County for the first eight months. The steepest drop in the state has been in Santa Clara County, down $749.8 million for the first eight months.

CIRB figures show that California’s total construction activity dipped by $1.51 billion to $42.42 billion, a decline of 3.4%, for the first eight months of 2002. It attributed most of the decline on the slowdown in the private non-residential sector, which was down by $2.497 billion, or 20.7%, during the first eight months. For August, the latest month tallied, total building decreased by $5.6 billion, a drop of 1.6% from July of this year and a decline of 2.4% from August of last year.

But the slide in non-residential construction appears to have bottomed out, according to Ben Bartolotto, director of the CIRB, who said he expects a turnaround, provided the economy improves. He noted that despite the drop in total construction for August, building actually increased in the non-residential sector on a month-to-month basis: Nonresidential building activity for August increased by $1.298 billion, up 14.6% from July, but down 24.8% from August 2001. The figures for private non-residential construction do not include public works construction such as government building and heavy construction.

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