According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities in the construction industry are beginning to pick up. As recently as July, the unemployment rate for the hard hit construction industry dropped from 14.5% in April, to 12.3% in July, while average hourly wages increased from $25.76 to $25.78 over the same period. While the positive trends are certainly welcome news for those in the construction industry that have had to endure several years of extremely challenging economic times, they still reflect what many contractors already know. It’s still a really tough time to be in construction.
Residential construction work nationwide has been slow to rebound following the collapse of the real estate market at the end of the last decade. While most states are experiencing much lower construction volumes as compared to their peeks reached in years past, there are some bright spots emerging. Overall economic conditions industry and nationwide seem to be showing signs of recovery, though certain geographic areas are experiencing the lions share of growth.
Texas, California and North East Are Top Areas for Remodeling Contractors
According to a recent study by Palatin Remodeling highlighting the top remodeling markets nationwide for 2012, Texas is the clear cut winner with 3 of the top 10 remodeling markets. Other clear winners include the Pacific Northeast, as well as California to a smaller degree. While California did not have any of the top remodeling markets, the fact that they had 7 of the top 100 remodeling markets should come as welcome news for contractors looking for more work opportunities.
The worst states for remodel contractor opportunities seem to be Nevada, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana, who did not have any cities in the top 100, although this is not particularly surprising given their relatively small population densities.
Construction Opportunities in 2012 and Beyond
In light of current economic data, it seems unlikely that a sustained economic rebound in the construction industry can occur until overall unemployment rates nationwide are brought down to more historically tenable levels. Also affecting remodel contractors to a large degree is continued instability in the housing market. Homeowners are not likely to invest significantly in upgrading their homes if they feel it’s remotely possible that home values may continue to plummet.
By Jeremy Schaedler