Sunday, December 24, 2006

L.A. Times: Construction industry recovers from slump

Not a biggee. I feel this December 22 article by Lisa Girion is a milestone, in my opinion, because of the mass psychology reflected in it. The headline leads the casual reader to believe that the housing market has recovered sufficiently for builders to forge on the way they had up until a year ago. But when you read the details, all it says is that there was more construction hiring in November in the state of California than there was firing or layoff.

This psychology which we've seen for just about all of 2006, this refusal to admit that the housing market has been a problem, is one reason why I don't believe the housing market here is anywhere close to a bottom. When the headlines are talking despair and agony, then I'll be paying closer attention to signs of a turnaround.

Perhaps a more accurate headline might have read "Construction industry sees dead cat bounce in November."

Construction industry recovers from slump
By Lisa Girion
Times Staff Writer

December 22, 2006

After shedding more than 10,000 jobs during the housing slump of the past year, 
California's construction industry hired more people than it let go in November, the 
state said today.

The unemployment rate, which is based on a separate survey of households, inched up 
to 4.6% in November from a historically low 4.5% in October.

The construction jobs, along with hiring in information and healthcare, contributed 
to the creation of 15,900 jobs in the state overall last month, up from a revised 
10,600 in October, according to state payroll survey figures.

Most other sectors added jobs, including mining, manufacturing, trade, transportation 
and utilities, financial activities, professional and business services, education 
and government. For the year, the professional and business services category was the 
biggest gainer, adding 46,400 jobs, a 2.1% increase.

While the construction sector posted some rare good news on the employment front, 
leisure and hospitality, an area that had been going strong, shed jobs in November.

The biggest loser for the year was construction. Most of the losses were among 
specialty trade contractors, which declined by 6,900 jobs.

Year over year, employment in California was up 156,600 jobs, or 1.1%, in November.


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