1-in-8 new California jobs are in construction – Daily News

on Aug29
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“Bubble Watch” digs into trends that may indicate economic and/or housing market troubles ahead.

Buzz: Construction hiring in California in the past year equaled a big chunk — 1-in-8 — of all new jobs created statewide.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Trend

Why does construction matter in California? It’s not just homes and highways. It’s also jobs.

My trusty spreadsheet tells me that construction bosses statewide employed 900,700 in July — No. 1 among the states — after adding 37,100 workers over 12 months — the nation’s No. 2 increase. (Texas was No. 1.)

The Dissection

Putting the Golden State hiring spree into a national perspective, you can see the above-average growth pace:

1. Bosses added construction workers at an annual rate of 4.3% compared with 3.2% nationally. California ranked No. 20 for growth rate among the states.

2. Construction is 5.2% of the state’s 17.5 million jobs overall — highest share in a decade. Nationally, construction is 4.2% of 151 million jobs.

3. The past year’s construction hires equal 11.9% of California’s 311,800 hires. The industry was 14% of 2018’s statewide hires. By the way, construction hires nationwide represented 10.9% of 2 million new U.S. jobs.

4. California is home to 11.6% of all U.S. workers and 12% of the nation’s construction workers. And the overall California economy grew jobs at a 1.8% pace in the 12 months ended in July vs. 1.4% in all industries nationally.

Another view

California construction work pays well. Federal employment data for year-end 2018 showed average annualized construction wages at $76,000. That’s higher than the statewide all-industry wage of $72,000 and is up 26% from the bubble-bursting days of 10 years earlier.

How bubbly?

On a scale of zero bubbles (no bubble here) to five bubbles (five-alarm warning) … TWO BUBBLES!

Any new jobs are good. More jobs, at good pay, even better. So why worry about construction’s hearty chunk of hiring?

The state’s reliance on construction as a key economic driver leaves it vulnerable to real estate’s historic volatility: Building trades have added 69,000 in one year (1999) and lost 164,000 in another (2009).

And the current stomach-churning mix of general economic uncertainty plus political angst about too much growth puts this statewide job-creation powerhouse in a tough spot.



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