Thursday, March 8, 2007

Housing and Employment

Big thanks to Bonddad's girlfriend for this from MSNBC:

Now the housing slump is hitting yet another target: housing-related jobs, a list that includes everyone from the people who build and sell houses to makers of appliances and furnishings.

That's a sharp contrast to the height of the housing boom in 2005-06, when the industry was responsible for creating some 25,000 to 50,000 new jobs every month, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist at

“In the recent months it’s been laying off workers at a pace of 25,000 to 50,000 per month,” he said. “And I think the next couple of quarters we’ll start seeing job losses of between 50,000 and 75,000 per month. ... I think the housing market is going down a whole other notch.”

I looked at housing and employment about 6 months ago. A conservative reading of job growth puts housing related jobs at about 30% of total growth for this expansion. That's including construction, financial and professional services. In other words, housing is really important to this expansion.

The blog Calculated Risk has estimated that between 200,000 to 400,000 jobs will be lost as housing cools. Additionally, we really haven't started to see the big drop because housing starts are just starting to slow. Business construction may absorb some of these losses, but as of now we don't know how many.