Construction numbers sink to new low

Amy Scott Dec 18, 2007


Renita Jablonski: The housing market — it still hasn’t hit rock bottom. The Commerce Department reports this morning construction of new single-family homes fell to its lowest level in 16 years last month. Marketplace’s Amy Scott has more.

Amy Scott: The number of new home-building projects started last month fell by 3.7 percent. That’s actually a little better than economists had predicted. But single-family home construction fell by 5.5 percent, to its lowest level since 1991.

Joel Naroff is chief economist for Commerce Bank. He says that’s bad news for workers in many industries.

Joel Naroff: When construction slows, a whole variety of other industries, such as appliances and flooring and wood, they all slow, and this has a continued impact on the economy.

One bright spot in today’s data: Construction of apartments, town homes, and condos picked up slightly for the second straight month.

But many economists predict the housing market will remain soft at least through next year. Yesterday, an index of homebuilder confidence held at a record low for the third straight month.

In New York, I’m Amy Scott for Marketplace.

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