P.M. BRIEFING : Housing Construction Drops 11.4%

<i> From Times wire services</i>

Housing construction plunged 11.4% in February as activity fell back after a mild-weather surge during the previous month, the government said today.

The Commerce Department said new homes and apartments were built at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.5 million units last month, down from the 1.69 million pace in January, when unusually warm weather allowed more construction work than normal.