Private house construction is definitely in recession. The housing start numbers for May were horrible. Here are the sorry details.

  • Total housing starts were at their second lowest level since 1996.
  • During the height of the bubble, the construction industry started an average of 1.96 million homes a month. During the first five months of this year, the industry started only 1.47 million homes. That represents a fall of 33 percent relative to the top of the bubble.

  • The blue line in the chart represents the trend in recent housing starts. It suggests that the housing slowdown has a lot of momentum, with little sign of recovery on the horizon.