Economic Report: Housing Starts Rise in July

Dr. Rick Harper associate vice president of research and economic opportunity.
Dr. Rick Harper, associate vice president of research and economic opportunity.

U.S. housing starts jumped 2.1 percent in July, far exceeding projections. In this week’s “Economic Report,” Dr. Rick Harper, who leads the University of West Florida Center for Research and Economic Opportunity, spoke with WUWF 88.1-FM’s Sandra Averhart about what the most recent housing numbers mean for the gross domestic product outlook.

“If builders are starting on houses, then the median-priced house in the U.S. over the time it takes to complete it is responsible for, when you spread it across all the contractors and labor, two to three full-time equivalent jobs over the course of construction,” Harper said. “That was one of the major things that caused the Atlanta Fed estimate of third-quarter GDP to tick upward. We’d love to get 3.6 percent GDP growth because when you’re only getting one to 1.2 percent GDP growth as we saw in the first half of the year, there’s just not enough growth to sustain pay increases and profit increases. So much better outlook for the third quarter.”

To listen to the complete report, click here.