Ground was broken on more new homes this past year which is another sign of economic recovery. New government figures show a nationwide increase, but the rebound in Indiana is not as strong.

They've taken a beating over the last few years. But last month was a good month for the national housing market -- new home construction rates rose an average of almost 9 percent over the previous month. The US Commerce Department showed strong gains in the Northeast and in the South.

The gains in the Midwest were more modest, but still better than they were.

"It's obviously one month, it's not a trend, but we're encouraged by the numbers, because we haven't that type of increase. We haven't seen that in a couple of years."

And the Indiana Builder's Association is relying on census numbers that show for October, a gain of about 1,000 new single-family housing starts across the state. That'll bring the year to about 10,000 permits. Considering that number was closer to 35,000 in 2005, this represents a trickle of a rebound.

There are a number of factors in favor of the industry right now: mortgage rates are low, credit markets are loosening up...but the biggest motivator may be the home buyers credits extended by the federal government.

First time homebuyers can count on an 8-thousand dollar credit through the end of April. Move up and repeat home buyers can qualify for a 65-hundred dollar credit.

"We hope that will boost the housing industry until the economy improves and we start creating jobs again across the state and across the country."

For the time being, the encouragement is being felt where it really matters: on the job site.

Busy at a time when construction tends to fall off anyway during the winter months.