US home construction fell 9 percent in September

Markets Associated Press

FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, file photo, Lennar Corporation townhomes are under construction at Chelsea Place in Tamarac, Fla. On Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016, the Commerce Department reports on U.S. home construction in September. (AP Photo/... Lynne Sladky, File) (The Associated Press)

Homebuilders pulled back on construction for a second straight month in September, with a plunge in apartments offsetting gains in single-family homes. Building activity was weak in all parts of the country except the Midwest.

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The Commerce Department says construction tumbled 9 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.05 million units. It was the slowest pace in 18 months. Construction had fallen 5.6 percent in August.

The weakness last month reflected a 38 percent drop in construction of apartments, which overshadowed an 8.1 percent rise in single-family construction.

Despite the two months of declines, home construction has been one of the bright spots in the economy this year with builders scrambling to keep up with rising demand, reflecting continued strong job gains.