US: 2 Million Construction Jobs May Be Lost For Good

2 million construction jobs may be lost for good (CBS News, June 16, 2011):

LOS ANGELES – Some Americans are giving up entirely on the idea of owning a house – choosing instead a condo or renting an apartment.

In southern California, CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker reports more of those homes are being built now – but they don’t create as many construction jobs as single-family houses do.

Put on life support by the recession, housing construction in California is beginning to show a pulse. But the life blood is no longer single-family houses. There’s a new driving force: apartment and condo construction.

370,000 construction workers lost their jobs in California in the recession. Since building an apartment takes fewer workers than a whole development of single-family houses, it’s likely 200,000 of those lost jobs are not coming back.

Nationwide, 2 million construction jobs seem lost for good. The states that have fallen the hardest, California, Nevada, Florida and Arizona, are the very states where construction expanded the most before the bubble burst. In the boom years, Delvin Knight built single-family houses in the suburbs. Now he feels lucky to have landed this job in Hollywood.

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