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The number of new residential construction projects begun in the U.S. declined by 8.7 percent between January and February, and the February number was 9.9 percent below the figure from a year prior, according to new statistics published by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Starts dropped in the West (38.3 percent) and the Northeast (25.8 percent), while rising in the South (7.8 percent) and the Midwest (4.5 percent).