Posted by: Josh Lehner | April 12, 2010

Construction Employment and Housing

Following on Calculated Risk’s post on construction employment and the housing bubble. We take a quick look at how Oregon’s metropolitan areas fared since 2001. The graph below illustrates mining, logging and construction employment as a percentage of total nonfarm employment in each jurisdiction. Similar to the nation, Oregon’s cities that experienced the largest run-up in housing prices (Bend and Medford) likewise saw their percentage of employment in the mining, logging and construction industries increase during the bubble years. Over the course of the past two-three years, the percentage of employment in these industries has fallen for all Oregon cities, with Bend, Medford and Salem experiencing larger declines than the other metro areas.

Note: Due to data availability for Bend and Corvallis , mining, logging and construction are used here, whereas Calculated Risk only examines construction. Some sub-sectors of employment are not available for all cities or counties in the state and combining these industries allows for an “apples to apples” comparison across all metropolitan areas. Construction is a much larger industry than mining and logging and therefore, the vast majority of the the employment in the graph is construction related (e.g. In February 2010, mining and logging employed 0.45 percent of total nonfarm employment statewide.)

The second graph shows the year-over-year percentage change in housing price indexes for Oregon’s metro areas, as calculated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. All cities have seen steep home price declines since at least mid-2008 with Bend and Medford experiencing the largest declines. Conversely, Corvallis saw the smallest run-up in home prices and smallest decline.

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