Calculated Risk has a fresh look at the boom and bust of real estate in California, showing the precipitous decline in the number of licensees — particularly among real estate sales agents — since the peak in late 2007/early 2008.
Licensees are one thing. But what about jobs in this field? EMSI’s just-released quarterly data (2013.1 beta) shows employment growth before and after the Great Recession for real estate sale agents nationally and in California — but only among people who work on the side in addition to their primary employment.
Wage-and-salary real estate sales agents and brokers — two distinct Standard Occupation Classification codes — have shown minimal job increases over the last decade. Even before the housing crisis that hit Southern California, Phoenix, Miami, and other parts of the U.S. so hard, the 40-hour-per week, full-benefit real estate sales agent job had flatlined. In fact, jobs for wage-and-salary sales agents and brokers are both down more than 20% since 2006.
It’s a far different story for real estate sales agents who work for themselves or as independent contractors for realty franchises. Consider the following chart:
Extended proprietors comprise 87% of the jobs in this field and essentially all of the growth. Meanwhile, wage-and-salary workers (the blue line) and self-employed (red line) have been stagnant.
Before we go on, however, let’s distinguish between the two types of proprietors that EMSI tracks. Self-employed workers are those who count self-employment as their primary source of income; extended proprietors classify their income as peripheral to their primary employment. The extended proprietor dataset, chiefly drawn from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, includes people who earn income as part of real estate partnerships. Thus, some of the real estate employment in our extended proprietor category aren’t jobs in the true sense of the word.
That said, a considerable number of sales agents and brokers appear to work in real estate on the side — showing homes at night and on the weekends, etc. — in addition to their full-time job and are thus classified in our extended proprietor dataset.
The same is true in California.
As the chart below shows, real estate sales agents jobs in the Golden State fluctuated a bit during the recession, but the general trend has been upward for extended proprietors and flat for the other class of workers. There are fewer than 23,000 wage-and-salary real estate sales agents in California (up from 19,866 in 2001). Extended proprietors, on the other hand, account for nearly 400,000 jobs and have grown 67% since ’01.
Keep in mind, some of these extended proprietors are partners in real estate deals and don’t hold typical jobs. One way to gauge this is by stacking up EMSI labor market data with the number of licensees in California (about 275,000). There are 10 times more licensees than wage-and-salary sales agents, but not as many as the extended proprietor category shows. However, some licensees probably aren’t active in the labor market.
Data for this post comes from Analyst, EMSI’s web-based labor market data and analysis tool. For more information, see our Analyst page or contact Josh Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org). Follow us on Twitter @DesktopEcon.