Housing construction jumps by 17%

WASHINGTON The Commerce Department says that construction of new homes and apartments jumped 17.2 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 532,000 units. That was better than the 500,000-unit pace that economists had expected and came after construction had fallen in April to a record low of 454,000 units.

In another encouraging sign, applications for building permits, seen as a good indicator of future activity, rose by 4 percent in May to an annual rate of 518,000 units.

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