US home construction drops 30.2% in April as virus rages

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home building plunged again in April, taken down by the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that ground breakings plummeted 30.2% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 891,000. Construction of single-family homes dropped 25.4% to an annual rate of 650,000.

The lockdowns and travel restrictions designed to contain the pandemic have brought economic life to a near standstill. The unemployment rate is 14.7%, highest since the Great Depression.

The construction slump is likely to continue. Building permits for new housing dropped 20.8% to an annual rate of 1.07 million.