What a difference a year can make. In that time we’ve seen America’s housing boom rapidly turn into a bust, with associated fallout on Wall Street and Main Street alike. Although there are many ways to measure and visualize the changes that have occurred in the past year, the labor market in the construction and real estate sectors is a good way to get a handle on the situation. The two maps that follow provide a stark before-and-after contrast.
Both maps highlight total percent employment change (not annualized) by county in the Construction and Real Estate sectors from 2002-2006 and 2007-2008. In the first map, only counties with 1,500 or more Construction + Real Estate jobs in 2002 are shown. In the second map, only counties with 2,000 or more Construction + Real Estate jobs in 2007 are shown. (The numbers in the map keys are percentages, and some of the ranges are not shown.)
% Job Change in Construction + Real Estate Jobs, 2002-06
% Job Change in Construction + Real Estate Jobs, 2007-08
(Note that in the above map, the large green area in Nevada is the sparsely populated Nye County, located northwest of Las Vegas. Its large land area, and the use of percentages to show color, appear to overstate its importance.)
About the Data
The data used in these maps are from EMSI’s latest Complete Employment database, which now uses Current Employment Statistics to stay more up-to-date with rapid economic changes at the sub-state level. EMSI combines dozens of data sources from state and federal agencies to provide the most complete and detailed coverage of U.S. employment on the market. Jobs, which are either full- or part-time, include both payroll jobs and non-payroll (self-employed, proprietors, and partnerships). The latter (estimated for 2007 onward) is particularly important to include when examining the Construction and Real Estate sectors. The 2008 number is an a seasonally-adjusted annual average based on data available through August. Finally, note that 2008 data for individual non-metro counties has been modeled using total non-metro data by state.