The number of new building permit requests unexpectedly jumped in the U.S. this past December. The U.S. Commerce Department made the announcement yesterday in Washington, signaling a good sign for the economy and job market alike. For more information, check out the following story from BusinessWeek.com.
Applications rose 11 percent to a 653,000 annual rate last month, the most since October 2008, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Work began on houses at a 557,000 pace, down 4 percent from November.
Builders are probably anticipating sales will increase after the government extended a tax credit for first-time buyers through June and expanded it to include some current owners. Record foreclosures and unemployment near a 26-year high represent hurdles that may prevent the industry from strengthening much further.
“After a disappointing December, homebuilding may pick up in the current quarter,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Economy.com in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “Housing has formidable headwinds to overcome, led by foreclosures and double-digit unemployment.”
A report from the Labor Department showed wholesale prices increased 0.2 percent after jumping 1.8 percent the prior month, indicating the economy is recovering without the immediate threat of inflation. Excluding food and fuel, so-called core prices were unchanged.