Building Statistics Mixed in July

United Press International

Housing starts picked up in July to end a four-month slump, but builders remained pessimistic, taking out the fewest number of building permits in more than four years, the Commerce Department said today.

The government said work began on new homes in July at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.611 million, up 0.9% from June's 1.597 million. The number of building permits, meanwhile, fell 1.9% to 1.488 million--the lowest rate since March, 1983. Permits are considered an important indicator of builders' future plans.

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