The new NAHB estimates show that the average congressional district has more than 8,800 residents working in residential construction but that number is often significantly higher. In Montana’s single Congressional district, close to 20,600 residents are in home building. The latest estimates of home building employment, including self-employed workers, by congressional district highlight the importance of home building to voting constituency residing in the district.
The heat map helps visualize the distribution of RC workers across the Congressional districts. Many areas that were once booming and consequently hardest hit by the housing downturn still show higher than average numbers and shares of residential construction workers.
Montana’s lone Congressional district (Rep. Greg Gianforte – R) registers the record number of residential construction workers among all districts – 20,590. Colorado’s 7 (Rep. Ed Perlmutter – D) that encompasses parts of the Denver-Aurora metro area and Florida’s 19 (Rep. Francis Rooney – R) that serves an area on the west coast of Florida from Fort Myers to Marco Island come second and third with more than 18,000 employed in home building. Florida’s 25th (Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart – R) is next with just under 18,000 residential construction workers residing there. Arizona 7th (Rep. Ruben Gallego – D) includes much of inner Phoenix and has more than 17,000 workers. California’s 29th (Rep. Tony Cardenas – D) has close to 16,500 residential construction workers. Florida’s 20th (Rep. Alcee Hastings – D) that includes precincts in and around Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach and Texas’s 29th (Rep. Gene Green – D) that serves the eastern portion of the Greater Houston area are next on the list with more than 16,300 and 16,200 workers, respectively. Three additional districts from Florida conclude the top twelve list – 27th in far South Florida (Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen – R), 21st in South East Florida (Rep. Lois Frankel – D), and 17th in South Central Florida (Rep. Tom Rooney – R) – with around 16,000 residents working in construction.
By design, Congressional districts are drawn to represent roughly the same number of people. So generally, large numbers of residential construction workers translate into high shares of RC workers in their district employed labor forces. The three districts from Florida register the top highest shares of residential construction workers in its employed labor force. The 17th District of Florida has the highest share, 5.8%. Florida’s 19th and 25th districts are next with 5.5% and 5%, respectively. Texas’s 29th and Arizona’s 7th register the share of residential construction workers just under 5%.
At the other end of the spectrum there are several districts that contain parts of large urban areas: the District of Columbia (Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton – D), the 12th of New York (Rep. Carolyn Maloney – D), located in New York City, and Pennsylvania’s 2nd (Rep. Dwight Evans – D) that includes areas of the city of Philadelphia. Most residents in these urban districts tend to work in professional, scientific, and technical services. The District of Columbia stands out for having the lowest number of RC workers residing in the district, around 1,500. At the same time, it has a disproportionally large share of public administration workers. The 12th District of New York is home to a very large group of finance and insurance workers. Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania’s 2nd more than a third of residents work in health care and educational services.
The NAHB residential construction employment estimates include self-employed workers. Counting self-employed is particularly important in the home building industry since they traditionally make up a larger share of the labor force. According to the 2016 ACS, over 23% of construction workers are self-employed, while an economy-wide average does not reach 10% of the employed labor force.
The new NAHB home building employment estimates only include workers directly employed by the industry and do not count jobs created in related industries– such as design and architecture, furniture making, building materials, landscaping, etc. As a result, the estimates underestimate the overall impact of home building on local employment.