Housing is not adding to economic momentum. Housing starts slipped in January on weakness in single-family starts. Housing starts declined 2.0 percent in January after a 7.1 percent jump the month before. The 1.065 million unit pace was up 18.7 percent on a year-ago basis.

Single-family permits dropped 6.7 percent after a 7.9 percent boost in December. Multifamily starts gained 7.5 percent, following a 5.6 percent rise in December.

Again, permits suggest that housing activity is muted. Housing permits dipped 0.7 percent, following no change in December. The 1.053 million unit pace was up 8.1 percent on a year-ago basis. The market consensus was for a 1.070 million unit pace.