By Bill McBride
Construction employment increased by 17 thousand jobs in December, and is now down 2.18 million jobs from the peak in April 2006.
Total construction employment increased by 46 thousand jobs in 2011. This was the first increase for construction employment since 2006, and the first increase for residential construction employment since 2005.
Usually residential investment (and residential construction) lead the economy out of recession, and non-residential construction usually lags the economy.
Construction employment is mostly moving sideways, but at least it was not a drag on employment and the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2011.
The table below shows the annual change in construction jobs (total, residential and non-residential) through 2011; after five consecutive years of job losses for residential construction (and four years for total construction), construction employment increased in 2011.
In addition, residential investment has made a small positive contribution to GDP in 2011 – also for the first time since 2005.
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