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The construction industry added 48,000 jobs in February, creating a dose of optimism in a segment of the economy gutted by the 2008 housing crisis.
Since the housing crisis reached rock bottom, the recovery has added 125,000 residential construction jobs so far — plus more than 184,000 jobs in other housing-related industries, according to online real estate firm Trulia.
"Yet housing-related employment is far below its peak. Residential construction jobs are still 39% below their peak during the bubble, and overall housing-related jobs are down 28% from their peak," said Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia.
Trulia ($31.48 -0.18%) also reported that residential construction jobs rose 3.1% year-over-year — more than double the national employment growth rate of 1.5%. Residential construction jobs include general contractors, spec builders and specialty contractors.
Construction activity picked up with the overall economy, which added more jobs in February.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its jobs report Friday morning, showing the unemployment rate declined to 7.7% in February from 7.9% in January.
According to analysts at Econoday, this exceeded the market expectations of a 7.8% unemployment rate.
Payroll jobs showed significant improvement with a gain of 236,000 jobs, the biggest one-month gain since last November, according to Doug Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae. Additionally, average hourly earnings and average weekly hours both increased as well.
"Despite considerable uncertainty stemming from the fiscal front, businesses have shrugged it off. The strengthening trend in hiring over the past six months provides some comfort that the economy will be resilient enough to withstand additional headwinds that may lie ahead," said Duncan.
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