Saturday, July 18, 2015

Follow-Up On Two Articles On Same Issue: New-Home Construction -- July 18, 2015


Later, 12:22 p.m.: a reader who retired from the manufacturing business many years ago had this to say about the housing industry discussed below:
20-35 yrs ago when we were manufacturing fireplaces we planned on having to find new ("replacement") fireplace builders every seven (7) years. There were many reasons why individuals did not stay longer, some good reasons, some bad reasons.
A fair number of them were fantastic stone/brick masons, but were terrible business men. The Crash in Housing started in late 2007,  8 yrs ago -- similar to the 7-year period noted above. 
When these crashes/downdrafts occur, it is similar to oil well companies: the price of the job gets cut, so the profit factors get squeezed. Also, many builders, after they hit 50 years of age, cut back from a 6-day a week work schedule to 3 days a week. Some go to an ALL cash and the home owner furnishes all the material and a helper.
This residential building industry is the last major bastion of unregulated labor. When you get into motels, business centers/hospitals/schools the labor is more regulated because of unions, and the shear size scale of the project. 
My hunch is that the residential building industry represents a major portion of, what I call, the "US Greek underground economy."

Like blogging about the Bakken, I learn something new every day.

Original Post
I wonder if anyone else noticed this: two completely different stories following the release of the June housing data.

CNBC: housing industry hammered by lack of skilled labor.

Bloomberg: new-home construction climbed to second-highest level since November, 2007

After going back and re-reading the stories, looking at the data, and then reading the comments at the CNBC story, just as I expected. The CNBC story was all about undocumented workers.

Debate With Krugman

I finally got around to reading this article, the link sent to me by a reader. If you haven't read it, it's a must-read.

Back on July 10, 2015, I wrote:
Even Paul Krugman agrees: more money should have been sent to Greece, and it should have been sent much earlier, and all of this could have been avoided.

After all, the EU has not run out of money for the Greeks to spend.

(By the way, the linked Krugman opinion piece is one of the most poorly argued / most poorly written pieces I've seen by him -- I guess both he and I are getting tired.) 
I feel much better. I thought the Krugman opinion piece on Greece was one of his most poorly argued / most poorly written pieces I've seen by him, but I thought I might be missing something. 

After reading the article linked above about the Krugman debate and then re-reading Krugman's own op-ed piece on Greece, it is very, very clear he is completely wrong on this one.

No comments:

Post a Comment