And more job losses are likely on the way.
The number, coming before the coronavirus outbreak intensified, crushed expectations.
Home Depot posted better-than-expected earnings and revenue for the fourth quarter.
"The labor shortage continues to be the number one issue for homebuilders," one economist said.
As more and more people want the amenities of urban living, there's nowhere to build but up.
The Labor Department's October jobs report is expected to show a sharp slowing in job creation in a still-tight labor market.
But they're up compared to a year ago.
Construction spending fell more than a percentage point in June, the second drop in two months.