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U.S. housing starts decreased in September, driven by a pullback in multifamily construction, as lingering supply-chain constraints, shortages of skilled labor and elevated materials costs continue to challenge builders.  Residential housing starts fell 1.6% last month to a 1.56 million annualized rate.  Applications to build, a proxy for future construction, fell 7.7% to an annualized 1.59 million units in September, the largest monthly decline since February. The drop was driven by a sharp decrease in multifamily permits.  Cheap borrowing costs and a pandemic-fueled migration to the suburbs supported housing demand and construction through late 2020 and earlier this year. But high materials costs, unpredictable supply-chain delays and labor shortages have strained builders’ ability to keep up with still-solid demand in more recent months.

 

The consumer products giant Procter & Gamble reported better-than-expected 3rd quarter earnings but the stocks sold off after the company said they were going to have to raise prices to cover rising commodity and freight costs, noting inflation looks like it’s here to stay.

 

Oregon’s jobless rate continued falling last month, dipping to 4.7%, according to new state data.  That’s down from a revised figure of 5.0% in August and reflects an economy that has enjoyed a dramatic recovery from the pandemic’s early days, when unemployment hit a record 13.2%. Oregon’s jobless rate has only occasionally been this low during the 45 years for which Oregon has comparable records.

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