Jobs data offers mostly positive outlook for housing

Residential construction jobs grew 5 percent in April

Job growth in the construction industry and metro areas hit particularly hard by the housing collapse continues to outpace overall growth, but employment among young adults, a vital source of housing demand, hasn’t fared as well recently, according to recent jobs numbers.

Residential construction employment jumped by 13,100 month over month in April and 29,500 from three months before, said Trulia Chief Economist Jed Kolko, citing the latest jobs report from the U.S Department of Labor.

Framer image via Shutterstock.
Framer image via Shutterstock.

On an annual basis, the number of jobs in the industry increased 5 percent, well ahead of the national growth rate of 1.7 percent, the economist said.

The improvement in the sector might seem to conflict with a recent report released by the U.S. Census Bureau showing that housing starts declined by 6 percent year over in March. But that’s because the residential construction job numbers reflect the number of homes currently under construction, which are actually up 21 percent year over year, Kolko said.

Recent jobs growth in markets pummeled by the housing crisis provides another positive sign for housing, Kolko said.

Employment in those metros increased by 2.2 percent year over year in March, outpacing overall job growth during the same period. Las Vegas  (3.6 percent), Fort Lauderdale, Florida (3.3 percent), Orlando (3.1 percent) and Miami (3.1 percent) posted the strongest gains. Detroit, however, continued to shed jobs (-0.9 percent). Metro jobs data is released about a month after national jobs data, so the most recent metro jobs numbers are for March, not April.

Not all recent employment data has boded well for the housing market. The jobs picture for young adults, who are a key source of demand for housing, was somewhat bleak in April.

Kolko noted that employment among 25- to 34-year-olds dropped to 75.5 percent after three months at 75.9 to 76 percent. Before the housing bubble, the group’s employment rate hovered in the range of 78 to 80 percent, Kolko said.


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