Sunday, August 07, 2011

Construction Employment Update

by Bill McBride on 8/07/2011 10:05:00 AM

• A long Summary for Week ending August 5th
Schedule for Week of August 7th

The graph below shows the number of construction payroll jobs (blue line), and the number of construction jobs as a percent of total non-farm payroll jobs (red line).

Construction employment is down 2.194 million jobs from the peak in April 2006, but up slightly this year (through July).

Construction Employment Click on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

Unfortunately this graph is a combination of both residential and non-residential construction employment. The BLS only started breaking out residential construction employment fairly recently (residential building employees in 1985, and residential specialty trade contractors in 2001). Usually residential investment (and residential construction) lead the economy out of recession, and non-residential construction usually lags the economy. Because this graph is a blend, it masks the usual pickup in residential construction following previous recessions. Of course residential investment didn't lead the economy this time because of the huge overhang of existing housing units.

This table below shows the annual change in construction jobs (total, residential and non-residential) and through July for 2011.

Annual Change in Payroll jobs (000s)
YearTotal Construction JobsResidential Construction JobsNon-Residential
Through July 201134628

Not much, but after five consecutive years of job losses for residential construction (and four years for total construction), this is a start.

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