Friday, September 16, 2011

Construction jobs still in trough, leisure and hospitality jobs grow

According to August's employment data, released today by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, overall employment in Colorado rose for the second month in a row in August. Thanks partially to continued declines in the labor force, the unemployment rate also fell to 8.3 percent.

At the Division of Housing, we keep an eye on industries that are often connected to affordable housing and real estate trends.

Today, we'll look at job creation in the following industries: construction, leisure and hospitality, and retail.

Construction is a key indicator since it is connected to housing production. The construction jobs examined below also include non-residential construction.

In the first chart, we can see that as of August 2011, construction jobs remain near the July 2011 low of 106,500 construction jobs. Construction jobs in August reached a 5-month high, but remain well below peak levels. Since construction jobs peaked during July 2007, construction jobs have fallen 37 percent, or 63,000 jobs. Although August's totals were up month to month, totals were down compared to August of last year by 5,900 jobs.

Unlike many industries, construction jobs did not drop to an initial low and then rebound. Overall, total construction employment has continued to drop since 2007.

Retail jobs, and jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry are key factors in the rural resort economies, and are also important statewide as sources of income for low-income households. In the chart below, we see that retail jobs have recovered somewhat but have not returned to peak levels.

Leisure and hospitality jobs, on the other hand, have recovered to a significant degree since early 2010 and have now exceeded 2008's peak levels.

In leisure and hospitality, total jobs are now up 0.9 percent, or about 8,500 jobs, over the June 2008 peak. From August 2010 to August 2011, total jobs increased 5.6 percent, or about 14.800 jobs.

Retail jobs have not recovered as much as those in leisure and hospitality. From August of last year to August 2011, total employment in retail is up about 100 jobs. Since the April 2008 peak, retail jobs are down 7.5 percent, or about 17,000 jobs.