The latest government data confirm what most Americans know all too well: The home construction industry continues to shrink in a housing recession entering its 57th month.
New home construction fell 10.6 percent to 523,000 from March to April, according to a joint report from the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development. The number of building permits issued in April fell to 551,000, which is 4 percent below the 574,000 issued in March.
The April 2011 housing starts are 23.9 percent lower than April 2010, and 12.8 percent fewer permits were issued year-over-year.
In a report released yesterday, the National Association of Home Builders said tight credit and difficulty selling an existing home for a good price were discouraging potential clients.
New homes sales stimulate consumer demand and can have a positive rippling effect on economic growth. As new home sales remain weak, the production of appliances, furniture and carpeting fell 4.2 percent from March to April, according to Federal Reserve data released today.
Manufacturing declined a total of 0.4 percent in April partly due to Japanese parts shortages that slowed assembly lines, according to the Reserve’s monthly Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization report. Excluding motor vehicles and parts, factory production rose 0.2 percent in April, while output of mines rose 0.8 percent and utilities output increased 1.7 percent.
Total industrial production remains at 93.1 percent of its 2007 average.