As a close follower of the work of Bill McBride at Calculated Risk, I’ve been keeping up with and writing about construction employment and residential investment for many, many months.
So there’s no “news” here, but it’s good to see The Washington Post finally take note with a major article: Rebound in construction hiring offers hope for economy
This is one of the key reasons to be optimistic over the short- to medium-term for the U.S. economy.
From the article, referencing yesterday’s employment report:
But a closer look reveals that nearly one-fifth of the jobs created were in construction, marking only the third time since the recession ended in June 2009 that the industry has added 30,000 workers or more. The surge capped one of the largest three-month gains the sector has seen since the recession began in December 2007.
The return of construction jobs is an especially critical component of the economic recovery. That’s partly because of the sheer number of jobs lost — more than 2 million since 2007 — but also because of fears that many of those workers’ skills may not translate to other industries, rendering them permanently unemployable.
“These jobs have been the backbone of the middle class for many, many years,” said Arne L. Kalleberg, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of “Good Jobs, Bad Jobs.”
The following graph from Calculated Risk only covers through August 2012. If you pull out your red pen, you can put a very small upturned tail on this to account for the last few months.