- Housing Starts 70% lower than during peak of housing boom
- Surge in Housing starts as new home builds jumps 17%
Also note there was an increase at the start of 2009, only for housing starts to drop back again.
The moral of the story is be wary of statistics. We need to look beyond the headline statistic to understand their context and relative significance.
For example, in the UK, we have seen figures like 15% jump in mortgage lending. But, this is from a very low base. Another way of thinking about the jump is. - Despite zero interest rates, mortgage approvals still close to record lows.
After a deep recession, it is tempting to look for glimmers of hope and build them out of proportion, but, they can be misleading.
Unfortunately, recent revisions to GDP statistics suggested the downturn in the first quarter of this year was worse than expected (often revisions go the other way)
N.B. Understanding the significance, context and importance of statistics is an important skill we try to teach Economics A Level students. Another example is the difference between a fall in prices and a fall in the rate of change.
See also: Misleading economic statistics