Though payrolls came in just below expectations, one positive take away from this morning’s data was the 30 thousand increase in construction jobs. Almost all of the increase was in residential. These are relatively well paying jobs compared to retail clerks, waiters, bartenders, and health care workers, which have led the payrolls recovery.
We’ll take 30K construction jobs over 40K retail clerk jobs. Quality matters.
The huge run in lumber futures has been signalling the nascent housing recovery and the exordium of construction hiring. Increased demand from the U.S. housing sector and China’s rebound, coupled with reduced timber production in Russia have driven lumber futures to a seven year high. This is real time leading indicator, similar to Dr. Copper, that should be on your radar.
Nevertheless, total employment in construction is still 2.2 million less than where it was at its April 2006 peak. It is one of the few sectors that has yet fully regain the jobs lost in the Great Recession.
We doubt the sector will be building the equivalent of a Cleveland, Ohio every few years as it was at the height of the bubble, but here’s to hoping the recovery in construction hiring is just beginning. Long may you run!
(click here if charts are not observable)