Home construction up for 5th month in a row WASHINGTON (AP) ¿ Construction of single-family homes rose in July for the fifth straight month, edging up almost 2 percent to the highest level since last October, the government said Tuesday. Building permits climbed nearly 6 percent. Each new home built creates about three jobs on average and generates about $90,000 in taxes paid to local and federal authorities, according to the National Association of Home Builders. With new construction up 37 percent from its low point this winter, the industry is expected to help the overall economy this quarter for the first time in three and a half years. ___ Retailers' results top estimates; wariness remains NEW YORK (AP) ¿ Retailers that reported their second-quarter earnings Tuesday made big strides in profitability from a year ago by slashing inventory and other costs, but executives predicted shoppers will remain tightfisted.