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. Despite steady job gains since 2011, 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.
Not surprisingly, the most populous state—California—also has the most residential construction workers. Over 586,000 California residents worked in home building in 2017, accounting for over 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 4.0% 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 the highest share among all 50 states and the District of Columbia, 6.5%.
Similarly to Florida, other states with a high prevalence of seasonal, vacation homes top the list of states with the highest share of residential construction workers in 2017. Idaho with 4.6% of the employed labor force working in home building takes the top spot on the list. Montana and Florida are close behind with 4%. In addition, eleven 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%).
See more at NAHB’s Eye on Housing blog.