There’s good news from the job front, if you are in the construction industry. According to a recent study by the Associated General Contractors of America, construction employment hit a 15-month high for July this year. For those workers hit especially hard by the recession, this is music to their ears.
TheUnited Statesadded 8,000 construction jobs last month, and unemployment rates in the industry fell from 17.3% from a year ago to 13.6%. This does not necessarily mean that anyone who knows how to wear a hard hat and wield a hammer is in the clear.
In comparison to other sectors of the workforce, the construction industry is still lagging. According to a recent article in the LA Times, workers in other trades may be faring much better than construction workers. The retail industry added 26,000 jobs last month, and the manufacturing industry added 24,000 jobs. These numbers dwarf the mere 8,000 jobs added by the construction industry last month.
Even in relation to its own industry, construction still has a long way to come. For the month of July, employment in construction was at 5.5 million, which is 28% lower than its peak level in April 2006. Even though overall construction employment is up, some areas of the industry are struggling while others are booming.
Construction workers in nonresidential building and specialty trade are doing especially well, with 10,200 jobs added in July. This is a strong indicator that factories, power projects and hospitals are being built, whereas the fall of the housing market is still impeding new house construction.
Residential building lost 1,600 jobs in July. It’s no surprise to anyone that the housing market is still struggling, and therefore building new houses is not a top priority. More than 25% of the homes sold last year were foreclosures. Why buy a new house when you can get one from the bank for a fraction of the cost? Unless you are a McMillionaire, this idea makes a lot of sense.
According to a recent survey conducted by Trulia.com and RealtyTrac, the housing market may not fully recover until 2014. As of last December, they had predicted that 2012 would be the year for housing to bounce back. After extensive research done this year, the numbers show that the market is a little more downtrodden than originally presumed.
Of course every silver lining has a touch of grey, to quote the Grateful Dead. You have to take the bad with the good. The construction industry may be doing a little better than last year, but there is a long path toward full economic recovery in all industries. Either way, it’s good for everyone to read the news and see something positive in terms of hiring and the job market.