NEW-HOME CONSTRUCTION JUMPS: Home construction rose 7.2 percent in March from February to a seasonally adjusted 549,000 units, according to the Commerce Department. Building permits, an indicator of future construction, rose 11.2 percent after hitting a five-decade low in February.
PACE WAY BELOW NORMAL: The building pace is just half the 1.2 million homes per year that economists say is needed for a healthy housing market.
WEIGHING ON ECONOMY: In past modern-day recessions, housing accounted for 15 to 20 percent of overall economic growth. Since the mid-part of last year, home construction and sales have instead detracted from the economy.