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Weekly Roundup: Construction job surge in 40 states, decline in housing starts, & more

Weekly Roundup: Construction job surge in 40 states, decline in housing starts, & more

August 26, 2019

Construction Insider is a weekly roundup of the latest news and insights in construction.

Construction employment rises in 40 states

Construction jobs increased in 40 states over 12 months between July 2018 and July 2019, based on the Associated General Contractors of America’s analysis of Labor Department data. AGC

  • Construction employment also improved across 25 states between June and July this year, but contractors are still “struggling to find all the workers they need,” said AGC chief economist Ken Simonson. 
  • Texas (+48,400 jobs), California (37,100 jobs), and Florida (21,300 jobs) added the most number of jobs over the year. Employment also reached a record high in six states including Oregon and Utah. 
  • Louisiana (-12,100 jobs) lost the most construction jobs in 12 months, while both Ohio (-2,900 jobs) and South Carolina (-2,800) both lost nearly 3000 jobs. 

Housing starts drop for three months straight

The US homebuilding market continues to struggle for the third straight month as housing starts falls by 4% in July. CNBC

  • Housing starts in July dropped to 1.91 million units despite an earlier forecast by economists that the value would be 1.257 million units. 
  • This continuing decline in US housing starts happen amid the decrease in multi-family residential construction. Tropical storm Barry is also thought to have negatively affected housing construction in Louisiana. 
  • Meanwhile, building permits soared to 8.4% in July, a seven-month high that gives hope to the struggling housing market.

Home Depot cuts sales expectations as lumber prices drop

Home Depot reduced their sales expectations for the year as lumber prices slid and as the company adjusts to tariff issues concerning Chinese goods. USA Today  

  • Home Depot now expects a 2.3% in sales growth compared to an initial target of 3.3%. 
  • The company easily beat its 2nd quarter profit expectations despite the dip in lumber prices due to the weak housing construction market.  
  • However, Home Depot CEO Craig Menear announced that the company would start to account for the continuing deflation in lumber prices as well as the potential impacts of the recently declared tariffs.