Unemployment is down while construction spending is up – music to the ears of those involved in the construction field
The past six years have been pretty irregular in the construction field. The spring of 2008 caught many residential builders off guard – evidenced by the photos of rows of unfinished houses that were started based on an economy that was growing rapidly and a consumer base that demanded new housing starts in record numbers. But demand dried up, work was difficult to find, and many who had called the construction field their home spent their days seeking out work in other industries. Some left construction and never came back.
Fast forward to 2013. While the economy is recovering from the worst recession in recent history, the construction industry is an area that is truly beginning to gain some traction. According to a recent report by the Associated General Contractors of America, domestic construction employment say gains of 20,000 jobs in September of 2013, and the construction industry’s unemployment rate fell to a new six-year low of 8.5%. Other positive notes related to the report are an increase in the average number of hours worked per week by those in the construction industry, as well as significant increases in activities related to home and apartment construction. These jobs can drive a variety of trades and allow for some workers who are newer to the industry to gain experience across a wide range of disciplines.
The increase in home and apartment construction is comforting, given the way the Federal Government has raised interest rates and quelled some of the furor around home buying. That said, this is still a seller’s market – evidence that the supply of homes is light, and that new construction starts will certainly address this lack of inventory in the housing market.
While many construction workers have made the difficult decision to leave the field altogether, the promise of new opportunities and a growing demand for skilled labor is driving many to consider construction as a viable, long-term career. Public works projects haven’t quite recovered like other areas of the construction field, but the residential and private construction jobs have begun to rebound at an amazing rate. With unemployment dropping and thousands of new jobs being created each month, the construction field is an insightful indicator of how far our domestic economy has recovered.