Home Building Employment across States and Congressional Districts in 2021

According to the latest 2021 ACS, close to 11 million people, including self-employed workers, worked in construction in 2021. NAHB Economics estimates that out of this total, 4.5 million people worked in residential construction, accounting for 2.9% of the US employed civilian labor force. Home building in multiple states in the Mountain Division, as well as in Vermont, Florida, and Maine stand out for generating a significantly higher share of jobs. NAHB’s analysis also identifies congressional districts where home building accounts for particularly high employment levels and share of local jobs.

Not surprisingly, the most populous state—California—also has the most residential construction workers. Over 633,000 California residents worked in home building in 2021, accounting for over 3.5% of the state employed labor force.

Fast growing Florida comes in second with close to 440,000 residential construction workers. The state stands out for registering one of the fastest growing populations since the start of the pandemic that undoubtedly boosted housing and construction workforce demand. Florida is also known for its large stock of vacation and seasonal housing, further boosting demand for residential construction workers. As a result, in Florida, residential construction workers account for a relatively high 4.4% of the employed labor. Even though this share is well above the national average (2.9%), it is drastically lower than in 2006 when Florida registered the highest share among all 50 states and the District of Columbia, 6.5%.

Similarly to Florida, fast growing states with a high prevalence of seasonal, vacation homes top the list of states with the highest share of residential construction workers in 2021. Idaho and neighboring Montana take the top two spots on the list with 5.4% and 5.2% of the employed labor force working in home building. Utah and Vermont follow with 4.6% and 4.5%, respectively. In addition, ten other states register shares of residential construction workers that approach 4%: Maine (3.9%), Colorado (3.8%), Nevada (3.6%), Washington (3.6%), New Hampshire (3.6%), North Carolina (3.6%), Arizona (3.5%) and California (3.5%).

As of 2021, the average congressional district has about 10,300 residents working in residential construction, but that number is often significantly higher. In Idaho’s 1st, 28,400 residents are in home building. Montana’s single Congressional district is a close second with 27,400 residents working in home building.

Five other congressional districts have over 20,000 residents working in residential construction – Florida’s 9th (23,500), Utah’s 4th (23,000), Florida’s 19th (21,000), California’s 41st (20,500), and Idaho’s 2nd (20,000).

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.  Idaho’s 1st registers the highest share of residential construction workers in the employed labor force, 6%. California’s 41st, Texas’s 29th and two districts in Florida (Florida’s 19th and 17th) register shares between 5.7% and 5.8%, by far exceeding the national average of 2.9%. 

Ten other congressional districts register the shares of residential construction workers exceeding 5%. These include California’s 29th, 8th and 40th, Texas’s 33rd, Montana’s at-large, Arizona’s 7th, Utah’s 4th, and Florida’s 25th, 9th, and 6th.

At the other end of the spectrum there are several districts that contain parts of large urban areas: the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania’s 3rd that includes areas of the city of Philadelphia, the 12th of New York, located in New York City, Illinois’s 7th, Georgia’s 5th that includes most of Atlanta, and among others, Louisiana’s 2nd that contains New Orleans. 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 1,200. At the same time, it has a disproportionally large share of public administration workers. The 12th District of New York and the 7th District of Illinois are 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.

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.

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One thought on “Home Building Employment across States and Congressional Districts in 2021

  1. Large percentage of local employment are into home building. Amazing job! For those interested in home construction, Check out BuilderLoans.net I think this is something they would be able to help you with your next home construction.

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