With the housing market down and more people buying distressed properties in foreclosure, the new home industry in slow to recover. The sub-contract employees that once made a living working for home builders are suffering big in this economic climate.
While it is estimated that the unemployment rate in the construction industry is nearly 25%, this still doesn't take into account the layoffs and down sizing of the distributors. Home Depot, Lowes and other big chain home improvement stores have cut staff and even closed stores in outlying locations. That have cut staff back in stores, cut hours for the remain staff and restructured the operating headquarters to become more efficient in these lean times.
The remodeling business is remaining steady, however the people in this end of this business are reluctant to bring in new personnel. They are at this point trying to provide employment for the people who stuck with them through the housing boom and didn't leave to work for the builders, who are now out of business.
Talking to associates at Home Depot and Lowes, it seems that they seem to see the same faces that they always seen in the remodeling business, and according to people in the millworks division, business for these people seem to be steady.
With the government offering programs and incentives for home buyers, hopefully the housing market will begin to pick up come spring and summer of this year. Look for the unemployment rate to only fall slightly between now then. The only thing that may help the overall unemployment numbers, may be the rate that the illegals leave to seek opportunity else where. In the Atlanta market it is presumed that approximately 30% of the construction jobs that were filled during the last housing boom were by illegals.That means now, the competition for the available jobs will be less than before, and maybe people can get back to work to support their families.