SAN FRANCISCO — Builders! They have no work and are laying off all of their workers. This past week the Moscone Center has been hosting the annual Pacific Coast Builders Conference. Horace Hogan, chairman of the California Building Industry Association (they put on the PCBC) and president of Brehm Communities (homebuilder), said, "Every builder I know has laid off most of their staff, and contractors and suppliers we’ve done business with for years have folded up shop."

At the peak of the housing boom in 2006 the conference drew in 35,000 attendees — that’s 21,000 more people than this year. "It’s like a ghost town," said Andy Mihaylo, president of the Christane Co., an Orange County firm. The lack of building means a lack of jobs, and Hogan says that 360,000 jobs in his industry are now gone.

Sam Chandan, president and chief economist of New York’s Real Estate Econometrics, has even more bad news. He predicts a "huge wave of defaults in commercial mortgages."

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