Monday, May 05, 2014

Construction Employment: Pace of Hiring Increasing

by Bill McBride on 5/05/2014 01:19:00 PM

Here is an excerpt from a post I wrote in 2012: Where are the construction jobs?

Back in 2006, I predicted we'd see construction job losses in the seven figures. All through 2006 and into 2007, I was constantly asked: "Where are the construction job losses you predicted?"

And then it started ... and the BLS reported construction employment fell 2.27 million from peak to trough. No one asks that question any more.

There were several reasons why construction jobs didn't decline at the same time as housing starts. First, construction includes residential, commercial and other construction (like roads). Even after housing starts began to collapse, commercial real estate was still booming and workers shifted from residential to commercial (many commercial projects have long time frames - and many developers remained in denial). Also some construction workers are paid in cash (illegal immigrants), and these workers weren't counted on the BLS payrolls.

Now people are asking "Where are the construction jobs?"

Oh, Grasshopper ... the construction jobs are coming.
And from Michelle Meyer last year on the lag between activity and construction employment: Construction Coming Back and other researchers More Research on Construction Employment

Now is appears the pace of hiring is starting to pickup:

Annual Change in Construction Payroll jobs (000s)
YearTotal Construction Jobs
2002-85
2003127
2004290
2005416
2006152
2007-195
2008-789
2009-1,047
2010-192
2011144
2012114
2013156
20141124
1Change through April, 372 thousand annualized rate

Construction EmploymentThis graph shows total construction employment as reported by the BLS (not just residential).

Since construction employment bottomed in January 2011, construction payrolls have increased by 568 thousand.

Historically there is a lag between an increase in activity and more hiring - and it appears hiring should pickup significant in 2014.

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