New Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data indicate that employment in the home building industry was stronger over the last two years than initial estimates suggested.
We reported on the preliminary benchmark adjustment back in September. Due to the adjustment, the BLS estimates an additional 422,000 jobs were added to the economy as of March 2012. The revision occurs as the BLS annually supplements its estimates with more complete unemployment tax data.
Per the revised data, total employment in the home building sector (builders plus specialty trade contractors) was higher by 20,100 as of December 2012.
Under the older, unrevised data, home building employment increased by 62,600 from the beginning of 2011 until the end of 2012. Under the revised BLS data, home building employment increased by 92,600 over the same period.
The net growth (20,100) from the revision differs from the 30,000 difference above because the revised data has total home building employment falling by 9,900 more lost jobs in 2010.
Under the new tally, home building employment is up 4.7% from the cycle low. Despite the uptick in the jobs estimate, an open question remains regarding the mismatch between the increase in housing construction and the relatively small increase in employment. Possible explanations include an increase in hours worked of existing workers, possible future upward employment revisions, or measurement error.