From the New York Times:
FREDERICK, Md. - Danilo Molina has never flipped a house to make a quick profit from rising real estate values. He has not refinanced a mortgage. He does not even own a home. Nonetheless, the decade-long housing boom has been very good to Mr. Molina, a slight 21-year-old with a shy smile. He has been working on construction crews since he arrived in this country from El Salvador six years ago, and today he supplies workers, including himself, to build new houses in this fast-growing county roughly 50 miles northwest of Washington.
"I saw my friends - they make money," he said on a sun-baked recent afternoon in front of a half-finished house, describing his career choice. "Now I've got a small company."
Mr. Molina is one small part of what might be called the real estate industrial complex, the economic engine that has become one of the few reliable sources of growth in recent years. Encompassing everything from land surveyors to general contractors to loan officers, the sprawling sector has added 700,000 jobs to the nation's payrolls over the last four years, according to an analysis by Economy.com, a research firm.
Combined, the rest of the economy has lost nearly 400,000 jobs over the same span, which stretches back to the start of the most recent recession, in 2001.
Well, isn't that special? The population goes up by about 10 million, but the economy only adds 300,000 jobs, and a huge fraction of those go to illegal immigrant construction workers.
And this huge investment in Great Rooms and Master Bedroom Suites is sure preparing us to compete better with the Chinese...