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Last week's signs of convalescence in the economy:

In building, the award of new construction contracts made the first year-to-year increase since last November. F. W. Dodge Corp. reported that April awards were 4% over April of 1957. In steel, production increased for the fifth straight week despite the Memorial Day holiday, was set at 56.5% of capacity, highest since January. In rails, carloadings advanced 1.8% over the previous week, though still 21% off last year's level.

In autos, new car sales in the second ten days of May hit a daily average of 14,850, v. 13,777 in the first ten days.

As production rose, unemployment fell. The Labor Department reported that the number of workers collecting unemployment compensation in mid-May decreased for five straight weeks, due partly to exhaustion of benefits, and new claims dropped for two weeks.