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Nonmetallic Mineral Products Index Increases

The nonmetallic mineral products leading index increased 1.0 percent to 238.1 in June from a revised 235.7 in May, and its six-month smoothed growth rate increased to 5.4 percent from a revised 4.0 percent in May, according to USGS.

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June Construction Jumps 6 Percent

New construction starts in June advanced 6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $549.7 billion, the highest level so far in 2014, according to McGraw Hill Construction, a division of McGraw Hill Financial. Nonresidential building strengthened after pulling back in May, with the lift coming from the start of several large manufacturing plant projects. Modest gains in June were also reported for housing and nonbuilding construction (public works and electric utilities). New highway construction starts in June improved 6 percent.

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U.S. Housing Starts Fall; Canadian Starts Up Slightly

Nationwide housing production fell 9.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 893,000 units in June, according to newly released figures from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. The drop was due primarily to a nearly 30 percent decline in the South. All other regions posted monthly gains.

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EPA Rescinding Valid Clean Water Permits

A decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to revoke a valid Clean Water Act (CWA) permit from a mining operation in West Virginia could have ripple effects on the ability of public agencies and private firms to deliver urgently-needed transportation-improvement projects for the nation, American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) First Vice Chairman Nick Ivanoff, president and CEO of New York-based Ammann & Whitney, told members of Congress.

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Obama Launches Build America Investment Initiative

President Obama, speaking at the Port of Wilmington in front of the I-495 Bridge in Delaware, announced a new executive action to create the Build America Investment Initiative, a government-wide initiative to increase infrastructure investment and economic growth.

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