U.S. homebuilding tumbled from more than a 12-year high in September, but single-family home construction rose for a fourth straight month, suggesting the housing market remains supported by lower mortgage rates even as the economy is slowing.
The moderation in economic growth was underscored by other data on Thursday showing manufacturing output falling last month and factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region decelerating in October. The economy is being constrained by a 15-month trade war between the United States and China, which has dented business sentiment and caused a drop in capital expenditures.
Ironically, manufacturing has borne the brunt of the trade tariffs, which the White House argues are necessary to protect industries from what it says is unfair foreign competition. Other parts of the economy are also starting to show cracks from the trade war, with retail sales dropping in September for the first time in seven months and services sector growth slowing.