Total construction starts sank 7% from June to July, pulled down by a staggering 31% decline in the nonbuilding sector, which includes infrastructure projects, while the nonresidential sector gained 3% and residential starts increased 2%, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. Richard Branch, chief economist for Dodge, said the numbers weren’t all bad news. “The July decline in construction starts should not be interpreted as a setback on the sector’s road to recovery,” Branch said in a statement. “The gains in the nonresidential and residential sectors mirror the general overall improvements in the economy. The drop in public works could represent a settling back in activity following a solid spring in which some projects broke ground earlier than expected to take advantage of the fewer cars on the road during the COVID-19 shutdown in March and April.” The numbers also affirm reported pullbacks in the pipeline and energy sector. Starts for utilities and gas plants plummeted 58% in July, after a big run up in June, according to Dodge.