Being a carpenter meant that our future was often uncertain, even when Dad worked in union jobs. Layoffs were something we came to expect, which pinched us very tightly very often. We moved around a bit, moving in with my grandparents a time or two when times were extremely tight. You see, when the economy dips, construction workers are sure to bear some of the burden, if not much of it—for when people can’t afford new homes, remodeling, or other projects, or take out loans to purchase business buildings, carpenters aren’t given the jobs that could have been. In fact, during this last economic downturn, my father—along with the rest of his coworkers—were all laid off once again as the company outsourced to cheaper labor. He was unemployed for another half of a year—the hardest he’s ever faced when searching for a job; he was extremely surprised at how competitive the market was this time around, especially with his age as a new factor, despite his skills—before he was once again hired. Helping him apply for jobs on the Internet, I know there were hundreds we sent resumes to over those six months, and I can’t even recall the number of interviews he went on. And this is the cream of the crop we’re talking about here—the Golden Nail Man! I hate to see how workers who are just starting out in the field are faring.
Those are the trends we’re seeing right now all across the country. Even in areas that are recovering, carpenters still have a very high level of unemployment. In February alone, 5,300 construction jobs were lost in Ohio. In Kentucky, 700 were lost. Over 15,000 jobs were lost in the construction market in Tennessee—which amounted to over 13% of workers in the field being jobless—which is higher than the national average of joblessness overall.
Hopefully as businesses pick up around the country, construction workers will regain their employment as well.