June 24, 2008
The recent decline in the U.S. housing market is reflected by distinct job losses in select local areas and specific industries.
By far the largest losses in residential specialty trade contractors were in residential framing contractors, which lost 32,143 jobs (-22.4%) between March 2006 and March 2007. Almost half of the national loss came from five counties in the West and South.
The largest employment losses in the residential framing industry were concentrated in the Southwest. The top three counties in the Nation with the highest employment losses in residential framing were Maricopa County, Arizona, with a drop of 4,251; Clark County, Nevada, with a decline of 4,247 jobs; and Riverside County, California, with a loss of 3,807 jobs.
Counties with the fourth- and fifth-largest losses in residential framing were San Bernardino County, California, with 1,850 jobs lost, and Broward County, Florida, with a decline of 1,172 jobs. The employment drops in these two counties were relatively less pronounced, reflecting their slower growth during the housing boom.
The residential framing industry is particularly vulnerable to fluctuations in the housing market, because demand for their work is directly influenced by demand for new homes. Framing is one of the first phases in new-home construction. The limited framing work done in remodeling is often conducted by general contractors rather than by framing subcontractors.
These data come from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. To learn more, see "Local Employment Trends in Residential Framing Contractors: Five Counties" (PDF), Issues in Labor Statistics, summary 08-04, May 2008.