Housing starts in February rose 0.8% from January, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 917,000, the Census Bureau said Tuesday. The rate is 27.7% above February 2012. Single-family starts were running at a 618,000 annual rate, up 0.5% from January.
In addition, building permits for future construction were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 946,000, up 4.6% from January and 33.8% above February 2012. Single-family permits were issued at a 600,000 annual rate, up 2.7% from January.
The improving housing economy played out in Oregon. The construction industry added 2,700 jobs to the state during February, its best showing in months.
Even so, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held at 8.4% in February, the same rate as January. “Oregon’s unemployment rate has seen little change in the past six months,” said state employment economist Nick Beleiciks on Tuesday.
But the manufacturing sector had a better than expected showing in February. Oregon’s manufacturers added 1,100 jobs when a gain of 300 jobs would be the normal seasonal pattern.