Housing starts plunged to new lows in January as a large number of vacant homes, tight mortgage financing and a deepening recession created the worst housing market in a half-century.

Meanwhile, a report on industrial production showed that a broad collection of manufacturers cut back in January, as falling sales and mounting inventories forced them to reduce worker hours and shut down factories.

The two reports echoed what has been an emerging theme in the past few months: Makers of goods and homes are slashing production as fast as they can to match falling consumer and business demand.

Wall Street Journal