Industry News

Construction job loss may be understated

Economist details statistical anomaly with hidden workers
Published on Jun 21, 2007

Home builders have been hit hard by the downturn in the U.S. real estate market, and an economic report released this week by the Anderson Forecast at the University of California, Los Angeles, asks, "Where are the unemployed construction workers?" The report, by economist Jerry Nickelsburg, points to a statistical anomaly -- while demand for housing is down in Los Angeles County, and permits and prices are down for new homes, the data suggest that employment in residential construction is not falling. How can this be? "There is either something wrong with the data and it will all get better when revisions come in, or the data are missing something, or general contractors are happy to keep their idle workers on the payroll," Nickelsburg states in the report. The most likely scenario is that the data is missing the unemployed workers, according to the report. And a possible contributor is that undocumented workers do not appear in the data. "They are the 'trabajadores escond...

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