Construction Employment is Rising, but Not Fast Enough


It’s not always pleasant when comparing current market conditions against the “good ol’ days” of the early 2000s. But it can add some much-needed perspective.

Thankfully, a recent comparison of employment data depicts a positive trend: The number of residential construction workers has steadily — though modestly — increased every year since 2011.

NAHB analysis of the most recent figures found that after construction employment bottomed out at 3.2 million in 2011, the number of Americans working in residential construction grew to more than 3.8 million in 2016.

That growth may come as a surprise for those who experienced home building’s employment peak of more than five million back in 2006. In contrast, the majority of builders today rank labor shortages at or near the top of their list of concerns.

“While it is promising to see that residential construction employment is on the rise, it is still far below where we need to be to meet the increasing demand for housing,” NAHB Chairman Randy Noel said in a recent press release. “We will continue to push for programs and policies that address the labor shortage, such as workforce development initiatives and comprehensive immigration reform.”

The study notes that California led all states with more than half a million workers employed in home building in 2016. And despite being one of the states most severely affected by the housing downturn, Florida came in second with 361,000 residential construction workers. Rounding out the Top 5 were Texas, New York and North Carolina, respectively.

Other notable states include Nevada and Arizona, which were among those hit hardest by the housing downturn. These days, they maintain a relatively high share of workers employed in residential construction — more than 3% of each state’s labor force, compared to the national average of 2.5%.

The states with the highest share of the labor force working in home building include Montana (4.1%), Florida (3.9%), Idaho (3.7%), Colorado (3.5%) and Vermont (3.5%).

Read the full study at National-, state- and district-level employment totals for residential construction can also be viewed in the new NAHB Housing Portal.






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