MURRAY HILL, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE) --Optimism among U.S. construction executives in October declined from the previous month, and fell significantly short of the month's pace in 1998 and 1999, according to the latest Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) monthly survey.

``Order books optimism among builders continued to soften for the second month in a row, but the industry is still in very good shape,'' said Iris Geisler, economic analyst with Dun & Bradstreet. ``Fortunately, easing mortgage rates and a healthy job market have helped to sustain current industry conditions at strong levels. However, factors such as high oil prices and volatile stock markets have increased consumers' uncertainty about the continuation of the economic boom, and have made some less likely to approach new large financial responsibilities such as the purchase of a home.''

The Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) Corporation's monthly survey of 200 construction executives tracks both current conditions and three-month expectations. The latest survey results for three-month expectations showed an 11-point drop for the Order Books Index to 8, which is moderately stronger than the usual decline for the month.

The Employment Index declined three points to 8, a small decline for October. And the Prices Index fell 5 points to 17, a strong decline.

Current industry conditions remain healthy. The Order Books Index for current conditions moved up three points to 20, a moderate improvement for the month of October. The Employment Index rose two points to 1, indicating a moderately growing labor force again. The Prices Index continued to remain at high levels, despite losing two points to 32, a normal decline for the month of October.