New-Home Construction Dips in March
Construction starts on new homes slipped in March by a smaller-than-expected 2.8% to 1.590 million units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, the Commerce Department said. The decline, the first in four months, put starts at their second-highest level since January 1989. Analysts had expected a larger decline for March because construction activity in January and February had been bolstered by unseasonably warm temperatures. In a separate report, the Labor Department said the total number of people claiming unemployment benefits decreased by 55,000 to 2.121 million in the week ended April 4--the lowest level since the week ended July 1, 1989, when the figure was 2.109 million. First-time claims for jobless benefits fell by 22,000 to a seasonally adjusted 289,000 for the week ended April 11, the lowest level since the week ended July 26.