US enjoys construction recovery and fall in new benefit claimants

THE number of new houses being built in the US rose in August to the highest level since November, while new jobless claimants fell.<br /><br />The commerce department said housing starts rose 1.5 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 598,000. The modest increase was tempered by the fact that the market had expected starts to hit 600,000, while groundbreaking for single-family homes actually fell three per cent.<br /><br />But there was positive news for the apartment market, as construction of housing with two or more units soared 25.3 per cent to 119,000, while building permits rose by 2.7 per cent.<br /><br />Meanwhile, new claims for unemployment benefits fell by 12,000 to 545,000 in the week to 12 September, defying expectations of a rise of around 13,000.