Construction Job News: Bloomberg

From Bloomberg. "The number of homes for sale fell to a seasonally adjusted 545,000 during the month from 558,000 the prior month. Even with the decline last month, the number of unsold homes remains near a record high, making it less likely homebuilding will strengthen outright, limiting economic growth, economists said."

"Sales of new homes were down 15 percent in November from the same month last year, the Commerce Department said in today's report. The number of homes completed and waiting to be sold rose by 2,000 to 169,000 in October."

"The number of new homes available have averaged 555,000 this year through October, compared with 351,000 during the past 10 years, according to government figures. Existing home sales inventories are also near a record, averaging 3.515 million this year."

"Cancellations of purchase contracts, which aren't counted in the government's numbers, have mounted. 'That’s growing,' said economist Kevin Logan. 'There is even more inventory than actual inventory numbers suggest.'"

"Hovnanian Enterprises, New Jersey's largest builder, on Dec. 18 reported a fourth-quarter loss on cancellations of new-home orders. Hovnanian customers canceled 36 percent of their contracts in the period, an increase of 25 percent, the company said."

"'We didn't have this in other slowdowns, customers walking away,' CEO Ara Hovnanian said."

"The housing slowdown is costing jobs. Builders shed 53,000 workers in the last two months, according to government reports. Manufacturers shed 59,000 workers in the same period, while goods producing companies, some at companies that produce housing-related supplies or products, cut 102,000 workers."

"'Even if sales stabilize at this level, the contraction in construction activity is still in front of us,' said Kevin Logan, chief markets economist at Dresdner Kleinwort in New York. 'That's what's going to affect the economy in the year ahead.'"

"Building permits in November fell to a 1.506 million-unit pace, the lowest in nine years, the Commerce Department reported."