The value of non-residential building starts nose-dived 31% in July, compared to July 2007, according to Reed Construction Data, Norcross, Ga. According to data compiled by Reed Construction Data, in the first seven months of 2008 combined, year-to-date starts declined 7% in monetary value and 15% in square footage.

The forecast for retail construction continues to predict a decrease. more chains have called off expansion plans, closed stores, or gone out of business, adding to the supply of vacant space. The International Council of Shopping Centers, New York, is predicting that 144,000 stores will close this year, up 7% from 2007.