Home sales have been setting records in North Texas and statewide, rebounding sharply from the pandemic shutdown in late spring, and many builders are reporting big backlogs.
Despite the green shoots, construction jobs fell in July for both Dallas-Fort Worth and Texas while rising slightly nationwide. The U.S. also has held up better than Texas in retaining construction jobs over the past year and since February, before the pandemic effects started taking hold.
From June to July, D-FW lost 2,100 jobs at specialty contractors and Texas lost 6,300 at construction firms, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The explanation: Even while consumers are eagerly enlisting homebuilders for new projects and renovations, many commercial customers are pulling back on nonresidential construction.
Office projects, hotels and retail space are being paused or even canceled amid COVID-19 concerns, officials said. It’s one more example of how the coronavirus is creating both economic havoc and opportunities, sometimes within the same industry.
“The one trend I hear from everyone is their business depends completely on what market segment they’re in,” said Meloni Raney, CEO of Texo, a trade group of about 250 construction companies that does about $18 billion in projects annually. “The impact has been all over the board. One company will say it’s hiring 10 people while another says it’s letting 20 go.”