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Report: SOCal's construction industry continues post-recession rebound

While most of us here in Southern California would like to keep the Great Recession firmly in the rearview mirror, it hasn't always proven to be easy. This is especially true for those individuals who have long plied their trade in industries that were hit the hardest by the prolonged economic decline and associated housing market collapse, including real estate, banking and, of course, construction.

Fortunately, we've come a long way since the record foreclosures and job losses. Indeed, a recently released report from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation shows that Southern California's construction industry is continuing to rebound at a pace that could perhaps best be described as slow and steady.

The report, issued last week, reached this conclusion after examining trends in two key construction industry metrics: employment and permits.

Regarding the first metric, the report determined that 313,700 workers held direct payroll jobs in SoCal's construction industry in 2015, a strong number that nevertheless falls 23.7 percent below the employment figures reached during the industry's 2006 peak.

Breaking the numbers down further, the report ranked the region's five counties according to the number of construction positions in 2015:

  1. Los Angeles County: 125,747 jobs
  2. Orange County: 89,360 jobs
  3. Riverside County: 52,844 jobs
  4. San Bernardino County: 31,737 jobs
  5. Ventura County: 14,077 jobs

Regarding the second metric, the report found that 2015 saw 29,000 multi-family building permits and 15,000 single-family building permits filed in SoCal, continuing a trend that began after 2009 saw a dismal 6,000 multi-family building permits and 9,000 single-family building permits filed.

As to why construction of multi-family dwellings has rebounded more quickly than single family dwellings, the authors theorize that it can be attributed to a host of factors from restrictive lending practices and stagnant wages to exacting regulatory standards and intense competition for space.

While it's certainly encouraging to see the region's construction industry on the mend, it's important to understand that with more projects -- both residential and commercial -- comes a greater likelihood of lengthy and potentially costly disputes developing.

As such, builders and developers alike should strongly consider consulting with a skilled legal professional who is attuned to the unique concerns and complex issues present in the construction industry in the event such a dispute arises. 

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