Home construction exchange traded funds (ETFs) are feeling some pain today after housing construction fell to its lowest point in 17 years.

The building of new homes and apartments fell by 6.2% in August, a shock to analysts, who were expecting a drop of 1.6%, reports Martin Crutsinger for the Associated Press. The numbers seemed to rattle an already rattled Wall Street this morning.

Thousands of construction jobs have been lost, further contributing to an economic slowdown that has pushed the overall unemployment rate to a five-year high of 6.1%.

Both iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction (ITB) and SPDR S&P Homebuilders (XHB) are getting socked this morning. Until today, though, both funds had been performing relatively well in the last few months, seemingly defying the housing downturn. XHB is up 15% in the last three months, while ITB is up 13.2%. Year-to-date, XHB is up 8%, while ITB is up 0.9%.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.