Only 40 Percent of Boom-Period Construction Workers Stayed in the Industry

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October 20, 2015

Employment levels in the construction industry are still well below those of the boom years, but the labor pool appears very shallow, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The labor shortage dilemma has been well-documented in the media, but economists Hubert Janicki and Erika McEntarfer finally dove into the complex set of the Census Bureau’s job-to-job flow data to find out where many of the boom-era construction workers are today.

“Among construction workers who became unemployed for more than three months between 2006 and 2009, about 40 percent stayed in construction,” writes Wall Street Journal reporter Jeffrey Sparshott. “About one-third switched to another industry, but only after sitting on the sidelines for more than a year.”

He reports that typical destinations included work as general laborers, landscapers, and truck drivers.

The data also proved that the conventional wisdom—that many of the boom-era construction workers headed off to the booming oil and gas industry—is not true. The mining sector accounted for less than 5 percent of new jobs for former construction workers.

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