Construction jobs help fuel recovery in NC

by: Scott Wickersham Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The government tracks how many people file for unemployment every week, and the newest numbers out Thursday show the Carolinas are among the states with the biggest drop.

Construction jobs are helping to fuel that recovery in North Carolina.

New home construction is booming in one neighborhood in Ballantyne.

MI Homes sold 117 this past quarter in Charlotte, tying its previous record set during the boom years in 2006.

And they need people to build them. That means hiring will pick up, which is one reason jobless claims were lower last week.

In Charlotte, 1,900 construction jobs were added in the past year -- a jump of 6 percent.

But economist John Connaughton is quick to point out that's a small portion of the 100,000 construction jobs lost in North Carolina in the recession.

He thinks companies could start hiring again, but after the election.

“The plans by Obama and Romney on the economy are very different,” he said. “Companies are waiting to see which one gets elected.”

And that likely means no recovery for Obama to campaign on, and that jobs will continue to be a key subject in the next presidential debates.

Tamara Lynch with MI Homes said the supply of existing homes is the lowest they have seen back to 1991, so they expect higher demand for new construction and the jobs that come with it.