Construction Employment Update

by CalculatedRisk on 5/09/2011 06:02:00 PM

By request, here is an update to a graph I posted over a year ago on constructionemployment. Last year the outlook for construction employment was grim. This year will be a little better – but not much.

Construction EmploymentClick on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

This graph 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 2.2 million jobs from the peak in April 2006, but up 26 thousand jobs so far this year.

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 usually pickup in residential construction for 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).

Annual Change in Payroll jobs (000s)
Year Total Construction Jobs Residential Construction Jobs Non-Residential
2002 -85 88 -173
2003 127 161 -34
2004 290 230 60
2005 416 268 148
2006 152 -62 214
2007 -198 -273 75
2008 -787 -510 -277
2009 -1053 -431 -622
2010 -149 -113 -36
Through April 2011 26 7 19

In 2011, for the first time since 2005, I expect residential construction employment to increase – mostly because of multi-family construction. I also expect residential investment to make a small positive contribution to GDP growth this year – also for the first time since 2005.

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1 Comment

Filed under Construction, Economy

One response to “Construction Employment Update

  1. Pingback: » Construction Employment Update | Wood on Fire – Topics of Lumber … » Micromarket Blogs

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