Construction employment peaked in April 2006, soon followed by layoffs; about 50,000 workers were laid off through November and at least 30,000 more job cuts are expected early this year. While nonresidential, civil contractors, and residential remodelers are hiring, any gains are being offset by layoffs in the new home construction market.
Net hiring will resume around midyear and will continue at a relatively modest pace through next year as home builder layoffs taper off. The total job count at the end of 2008 will be about 1.3% above the early 2006 peak employment rate.
In spite of the weakening labor market, nonresidential and civil contractors should expect that recent skilled labor shortages, which have already caused delays and increased project costs, will occur more frequently in 2007-08. That's because homebuilding layoffs are mostly concentrated in the Southwest and in Florida and not in markets experiencing rapid growth in nonresidential and civil work.