A really, really, really bad time to be a carpenter

The March report on housing construction was even worse than economists expected. Starts on construction of homes fell twice as much as expected. They dropped 11.9% in March from February, leaving them at their lowest point since 1991. A big part of the decline was starts on multifamily dwellings, which tend to fluctuate a lot. Analysts say the number to pay attention to is the decline in starts on single-family homes. That was off 5.7% from February, making it the 12th monthly decline in a row. Believe it or not, single-family starts in March were 63% below their record level of January 2006, when they were going at an annualized rate of 1.84 million.

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