Housing holds key to full job growth rebound $HOV $BZH $BAC $KBH
By contrast, employment in housing-sensitive sectors — including construction, wood product manufacturing, furniture sales and architectural services — totaled 13.5 million last month, RBC says.
That's nearly 500,000 above their December 2010 low. But it's still almost 3 million below their total before the recession started in December 2007.
The construction industry, for instance, has gained nearly 300,000 jobs the past two years, though it's still 1.8 million off its late-2007 level of 7.5 million. If all those jobs had been recouped, the nation's jobless rate in December would have been 6.6% rather than 7.8%, according to a recent report by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
Housing construction also has an outsize impact on the overall economy. Although it makes up 3% to 4% of the nation's gross domestic output, it accounted for more than a tenth of economic growth last year.
That doesn't include its ripple effect on other industries. Employment in wood products manufacturing, for instance, rose to 344,000 in January, up from a recent low of 331,000 in 2011 but below 500,000 in December 2007.