Which US congressional districts had the most homebuilders in 2015?
Construction employment has steadily increased since 2011 to reach 9.6 million workers in 2015, of which 3.8 million were in the residential sector, according to a new study by the National Association of Home Builders. The figure, which includes self-employed workers, is below the most recent peak of 11 million workers on construction payrolls.
In its study, the NAHB explored residential construction employment nationally through the lens of the country’s 435 congressional districts, as each district represents roughly the same number of people (711,000). It found that the average congressional district has nearly 8,650 residents employed in residential construction.
- Montana, which represents a single at-large congressional district and has approximately 1 million constituents, has 21,500 individuals in residential construction, followed by Florida’s 27th district, which has 18,780 homebuilder residents. Districts in Florida, California, Arizona, Texas and Colorado rounded out the top 10.
The NAHB figures add further weight to recent reports identifying increases in construction employment. Recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data show the construction industry adding a net 19,000 jobs in November to a total of 6.7 million, the highest since November 2008. Of that total, the residential sector netted 19,600 payroll positions.
Although the figures show the industry adding jobs, on the whole, homebuilders still hold concerns over a dearth of available skilled labor. That could be exacerbated as a pickup in business activity in residential construction is expected to continue into 2017.
Earlier this year, the NAHB reported that single-family builders were having a tougher time finding skilled labor and subcontractors than they were in 2015.
The regions of the country that the NAHB called out as having congressional districts with a large number of residential construction workers were some of the same areas called out by industry economists in a webinar last month as experiencing significant declines in available labor. Montana, Wyoming, Kansas and North Dakota were among the states posting construction employment declines from September 2015 to September 2016. The economists noted that skilled labor was even hard to find in more active markets like Colorado, Florida and Texas.
With the industry struggling to attract new recruits, experts are now looking to various initiatives to bridge the gap, including better marketing, immigration reform and a renewed investment in technical training.
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