STATE OF BUSINESS: Housing Leads the Way

From U.S. builders last week came one of the brightest signs of the business recovery. Led by housing, construction contracts in July rose to $3,607,056,000, up 24% from July 1957. Though such public projects as schools and highways accounted for 43% of the volume, residential construction, helped on by easier money, also rose 21%.

The steel industry's scheduled operating rate also continued to climb for the eighth straight week, reached 63.6%, highest since June 16. Steelmen expect the rate to rise to about 70% as inventories are rebuilt and construction awards are translated into more orders for structural steel, which...

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