U.S. builders started work on homes in December at the fastest pace since the summer of 2008 and finished 2012 as their best year for residential construction since the early stages of the housing crisis.
The American economy is in the throes of the longest, most protracted recovery since the Great Depression. But there is an industry offering a beacon of hope, and it could soon serve as the tipping point that gets America back to work: natural gas.
For homebuilders, it hardly feels like an economic recovery. Nearly two years after the recession ended, the pace of construction is less than half the level considered healthy. That weakness is weighing on the economy: Though new homes represent a small portion of overall sales, they have an outsized effect on jobs.
Building a new chipmaking plant and upgrading four others will result in thousands of construction and high-tech jobs, the world's leading supplier of microprocessors said today. It's a strong statement from a company that has been critical of Washington's business policies.