Business: Boom in the Sky

Tall towers defy the slump

In the construction trade, one of America's most important industries, the economic signals are highly conflicting. Despite a modest improvement in single-family home sales in May, the housing market remains in a state of shock. At the present low rate of new residential construction, 1980 could gain the dismal distinction of being the worst year since 1945, when the U.S. built fewer than 1 million new homes and apartments. This performance is especially appalling because 35 years ago the U.S. population was only 140 million, in contrast to 220 million today.

But the tale in office construction is...

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