A new NAHB study
presents the most recent and comprehensive estimates of home building employment, including self-employed workers, by state and congressional district.
NAHB Economics estimates that out of 10.3 million people working in construction in 2017, more than 4 million people worked in residential construction, accounting for 2.6% of the US employed civilian labor force. These numbers reflect modest job gains that took place since 2011 when construction employment bottomed out.
Nevertheless, the industry employment levels remain far below the peaks reached during the housing boom when more than 11 million worked in construction, and home building employed more than 5 million people, including self-employed workers.
The Golden State Leads the Way
Not surprisingly, the most populous state—California—also has the most residential construction workers. More than 586,000 California residents worked in home building in 2017, accounting for 3.1% of the state employed labor force.
Florida comes in second with close to 380,000 residential construction workers. Florida has fewer residents than Texas and about as many as New York but owing to its large vacation and seasonal housing stock
, employs more residential construction workers. In Florida, residential construction workers account for a relatively high 4% of the employed state labor. Even though this share is well above the national average (2.6%), it is drastically lower than in 2006, when Florida registered 6.5%, the highest share among all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Idaho, which also has a high number of seasonal and vacation homes, takes the top spot on the list of states with the highest share of residential construction workers in 2017 with 4.6% of the employed labor force working in home building. Montana and Florida are close behind with 4%.
In addition, 11 other states register shares of residential construction workers that exceed 3%: Utah (3.9%), Colorado (3.7%), Vermont (3.6%), Maine (3.4%), Washington (3.3%), Arizona (3.3%), New Hampshire (3.2%), Nevada (3.2%), California (3.1%), Oregon (3.1%) and North Carolina (3.0%).
Congressional Districts Average 9,300 Construction Workers
Congressional district estimates are particularly useful to highlight the importance of home building to the voting constituency residing in the district. The NAHB estimates show that the average congressional district has about 9,300 residents working in residential construction. However, that number is often significantly higher and actually exceeds 21,000 in Montana’s single congressional district (Rep. Greg Gianforte–R).
Arizona’s 7th District (Rep. Ruben Gallego–D), which includes much of inner Phoenix, and Idaho’s 1st District (Rep. Russ Fulcher–R), that comprises the western part of the state, are a close second and third, with each district employing nearly 21,000 residents in home building.
In percentage terms, Arizona’s 7th District and Florida’s 19th District (Rep. Francis Rooney–R), register the top highest share of residential construction workers in the employed labor force at 5.5% each.
NAHB economist Natalia Siniavskaia provides further analysis in this Eye on Housing blog post.
View the complete NAHB report
, which includes all state and congressional district estimates.