Wrap your head around this: Records of U.S. housing starts date back to 1959. The only three years on record where fewer than 1 million homes were built? That would be 2008, 2009 and 2010. There were a few months where the annual pace slumped below that mark, but it always rebounded soon afterward. Besides, if you want to play the cherry-pick-a-month game, some months in recent memory show an abysmal rate of under 600,000 (see the data for yourself).
The logical extrapolation of all this is that construction jobs — particularly home construction jobs — are hard to come by. A recent report stated that for September, the industry’s unemployment rate “improved” by the most since February — to 13.3%. That just about sums it up.
I previously have written about the trend of Congress killing jobs, not creating them. Challenger, Gray & Christmas reports for the first six months of 2011 showed that the government was the single-largest source of job layoffs. By some estimates, more than 500,000 government jobs have been lost since President Barack Obama took office thanks to spending cuts and debt concerns. And that’s even with temporary census workers juicing the numbers for a bit.
To top it all off, you have conservatives pushing for even more job cuts in Washington and local municipalities — most recently with a GOP bill called the “Reducing the Size of the Federal Government Through Attrition Act.” The gist? As people quit, don’t replace them and reduce the federal work force by 10% — an additional 500,000 jobs — by 2015. So if you’re looking for one of those plush “gubmint” positions, don’t hold your breath.
Jeff Reeves is the editor of InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the stocks named here. Follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP and become a fan of InvestorPlace on Facebook.