Builders strengthen the workforce in July as property hiring slows down

In early July, home builders almost doubled their hiring pace, although growth in other employment categories in the real estate sector slowed slightly.

Builders added 8,300 employees to their payroll last month, after adding just over half as many the previous month the latest numbers from the Labor Statistics Office. This monthly increase in July was almost a full percentage point, seasonally adjusted.

Meanwhile, real estate firms employing brokers, sales agents and other related functions added 5,400 seasonally adjusted jobs in July, up 0.3 percent from the previous month. These companies had recorded a growth in their workforce of 0.5 percent in the previous month.

The growth in staff in the real estate industry was part of the a national job report that exceeded most attitude expectations. The U.S. created 943,000 non-farm jobs between June and July, an overall increase of more than 0.6 percent. US stock indices opened higher on the news on Friday.

These figures were collected in the early weeks of July before the delta variant of the coronavirus led to higher numbers of infections in many states.

Since then, there has been uncertainty about the trajectory of the virus drove US Treasury bond yields lower. Mortgage rates have followed suit and have continued to fall in recent weeks. But lower prices still had to stimulate a corresponding increase for new purchase loans, which declined in the last week of July.

Nonetheless, housing companies accelerated their hiring pace in the weeks leading up to these events amid high demand for home ownership and a market where housing stock had become dramatically scarce.

In residential construction, seasonally adjusted employment rose more than 8 percent compared to July last year, when the industry was still well below normal after the layoffs and leave of absence that accompanied the broader economic uncertainty in the first few weeks of the pandemic.

Brokerage firms and other real estate firms were also heavily employed last year, with employment increasing by almost 5 percent year-on-year, seasonally adjusted.

With the recent job growth, the total number of people employed in residential construction has risen to over 882,000. These numbers do not include home builders, an employment group that remained roughly constant from June to July.

Real estate employers who added fewer jobs to a larger job category reached a workforce of more than 1.75 million.

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