The construction industry has hit a dry spell of epic proportions: In February, Bulldozers plowed out new foundations at a rate of 1.065 million annually, down 0.6 percent from January, while permits also sank 7.8 percent. (Math without the numbers: less permits issued = less future construction.) Combine these stats with rising producer prices, which shot up a higher-than-expected 0.5 percent, and there you have it: a housing recession expected to last nine more quarters. Needless to say then, confidence among builders is said to be at a record low.
· U.S. Economy: Housing Starts, Permits Decline as Slump Deepens [Bloomberg]