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Monday, April 19, 2010

More Housing Bust and Construction Employment

by Calculated Risk on 4/19/2010 10:58:00 AM

Back in 2006, we discussed that the hardest hit areas, in the then coming housing bust, would be the communities most dependent on residential construction employment. Last week, I posted a follow up focused on California: The Housing Bust and Construction Employment

Zach Fox at SNL Interactive writes about the impact on Cape Coral, a construction dependent community in Florida: A generation of wealth lost

With so little commercial space in Cape Coral, the metro area became especially reliant on construction for employment. By June 2006, 16.8% of all jobs in the metro area came from the mining, logging and construction sector (the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not break out construction jobs for the Cape Coral-Fort Myers, MSA). By contrast, the national average reliance on the sector that month was 6.3%. Even the notoriously growth-dependant Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, Ariz., MSA (the U.S. Office of Management and Budget changed the name of the MSA from Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz., in December 2009), was far less reliant on development, with 10.1% of its jobs coming from mining, logging and construction in June 2006.

"I can remember driving up the west [Florida] coast and saying, 'Where are all these people going to work?'" [Andrea Heuson, a professor of finance at the University of Miami] said.
Construction Employment

Source: Graph from SNL Financial.
Unsurprisingly, with construction jobs falling off a cliff, Cape Coral-Fort Myers has posted a towering unemployment rate, hitting 13.9% in February, according to a preliminary report; the national average was 10.4% in February, non-seasonally adjusted. Whatever housing market metric one picks, Cape Coral-Fort Myers is near the top — in a bad way. The metro area has seen prices fall 49.5% from the 2006 first quarter through the 2009 fourth quarter, larger than the 42.0% drop posted by California's infamous Inland Empire and the 49.3% decline seen in Nevada's eviscerated Las Vegas-Paradise MSA, according to the FHFA's all-transactions index. With unemployment shooting up and prices tumbling, it comes as little surprise that Cape Coral-Fort Myers is also one of the nation's most foreclosure-prone neighborhoods. The metro posted the second-highest foreclosure rate of any metro area in the nation during 2009, according to RealtyTrac.
This was so easy to predict ...