From USA Today:
With the allure of easy money, thousands of Americans flocked to jobs in the real estate industry during the boom years.
As the housing market slows, there will likely be a lot of stories of people who are bailing out of their real estate jobs and other professions related to housing — appraisers, mortgage brokers and home construction workers — and many not by choice. This could send shock waves through the job market and the economy.
That’s because housing helped drive the economy out of the last recession. Almost four out of every 10 jobs created in the past four years were in housing-related fields. At the end of last year, a record 9.8% of U.S. workers were employed in the real estate industry, up from 8.2% a decade ago, according to Moody’s Economy.com. Only the health care industry added more jobs.
“Job growth is the main engine for consumer spending,” says Scott Anderson, senior economist at Wells Fargo in Minneapolis.
“If we don’t get the job creation that we need to sustain spending, the economy could be in trouble as we get into ’07,” he says. “If we don’t get any help from these other (non-housing) sectors, longer-term the implications are slower job growth, which means slower consumer spending, which would eventually discourage businesses from spending. You’d have this downward spiral in growth.”
The provided map puts New Jersey housing related jobs as 9.1% of the total job base, a significant number, but a number inline with the rest of the country. Many have argued that the housing bubble wouldn’t burst due to strong job growth across the country. I’m sure many of them didn’t factor in the fact that job creation and the housing bubble went hand-in-hand.