Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Instant Reaction: Jobs, August 7, 2020

“Jobs are coming back, with 1.8 million net new additions in July, bringing the total to 9.3 million over the past three months as the economy has steadily reopened. This is far from normal, as another 13 million jobs are needed just to get us back to pre-pandemic employment levels. The unemployment rate fell to 10.2%, and it is lower in states that reopened earlier: for example, 7.6% in Georgia versus 15.7% in New York. But coronavirus infection rates are rising more steeply in more re-opened states, thereby illustrating the tough tradeoffs in the decision between livelihood versus lives, and about which states will be most hurt (temporarily) during the impasse in new Congressional stimulus negotiations.

With housing shortages across the country, construction jobs need to ramp up. My estimate is that 3.5 million residential construction and general contractor jobs are needed to fully supply the market with new inventory. As of July, there were 2.8 million employed in the sector. The average weekly earnings in construction are at $1,154, much higher than the $348 per week in the leisure and hospitality sector that took the brunt of job losses. States should consider retraining workers to go into industries where the pay is higher and jobs are critically needed.”