Bringing the Economy Home

Construction Numbers Complicate Recovery Picture

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images News

A construction worker took measurements while putting siding on a new California home last month.

Total U.S. construction spending fell in February, according to Census Bureau figures released today.  The drop was the largest in seven months.

The Calculated Risk blog has posted a couple of handy graphs showing construction spending over time and by category.

Idaho has seen a substantial decline in construction employment since the start of the recession.  According to state Department of Labor figures, monthly employment in the sector averaged 52,500 people in 2007.  By 2011, average monthly employment in the sector was down to 29,500, a nearly 44 percent decline.

The early months of this year show a slight drop in construction employment compared to early 2011.  In February of this year, the construction sector employed 25,300 people in Idaho.  That’s 300 fewer than in the same month last year.

Complicating that picture: last week, a Brookings Institution report showed Boise’s housing market is looking up.  Meanwhile, area builders are reporting rising demand for new homes.


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