Homebuilders and remodelers have added 120,000 jobs on a net basis in the last 12 months and have added 658,000 positions since the Great Recession, according to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data from the National Association of Home Builders.
Today, residential construction employment is 2.64 million, which includes 743,000 builders and 1.9 million specialty trade contractors.
The NAHB said recent payroll gains build on a pickup this fall after softening earlier this year. The six-month moving average of new residential construction jobs has risen to 10,400 per month.
The latest figures underline housing’s growing strength, buoyed by pent-up demand and high prices. The overall construction sector added 19,600 jobs in November to a total of 6,704,000 positions, the highest since November 2008, according to recent BLS data.
The unemployment rate for construction workers continues to drop from its February 2010 peak of 22%, hitting 6.3% on seasonally adjusted basis in November. The unemployment rate spiked at 22% in February 2010. It plateaued in the 5% to 6% range in mid-2016.
The employment pickup comes as business conditions in the residential construction sector are expected to continue improve. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index held steady at 63 in November from the month prior, tying for the second-highest reading of the year.
Despite some of the positivity surrounding the housing market, fears are mounting that any growth could be tempered if the Federal Reserve hikes its benchmark interest rates, which could happen before the end of the year. This could push up mortgage rates as well as negatively impact homebuilders’ borrowing costs.
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