NEW YORK -- The value of new construction contracts in the United States rose 3% in April, supported largely by increases in spending on public buildings and a small jump in contracts for new residential housing, according to F.W. Dodge, a building research division of publisher McGraw-Hill.

Dodge said the value of new construction contracts rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $476.5 million from $460.4 million in March. The Dodge index, a measure of national construction value, was at 144 in April, compared with 139 the prior month and a recent peak of 152 in January. The index uses 1996 as a base year of 100.

The rebound suggests that the construction industry is leveling off rather than entering a sustained decline.