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Is there more in the housing numbers?

Scott Jagow Sep 1, 2006

SCOTT JAGOW: Today, the government said construction spending fell 1.2 percent in July. Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s the biggest drop in five years. Yeah, it’s another statistic about the slowdown in the housing market. But now we’re at the point of asking: Will housing take down the whole economy?

Patrick Newport is an economist at Global Insight. He says there’s no doubt construction spending is an important number.

PATRICK NEWPORT: They key thing is that it has been a big driver of the expansion over the past three or four years. So, it’s been a contributor to growth. And now we have a swing so that it’s now taking away from growth. So, instead of adding to growth half a percent, one percent every year, it’s now going to start taking off from growth.

But companies added 128,000 jobs in August. That might be good enough to keep the Fed from raising interest rates this month.

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