Housing starts pick up nationwide, still lagging in the Carolinas | News
HICKORY, NC (WBTV)- Housing starts for June across the nation hit its largest monthly rate since October 2008 when the recession was starting to erode the economy. Despite those gains, local contractors in the Catawba County area say they haven't seen a huge increase in work.
"It is picking up some but not where it was," said Brian Sturgis who was working on a home south of Newton on Wednesday.
The construction industry took a major hit in the Catawba Valley during the recession. With unemployment in double digits for most of the past four years new construction has slowed down.
At the permitting office in Catawba County officials said they are seeing an increase in requests for permits to build new homes but it still far below what it once was.
Paul Wallace has a flooring company in Monroe but was in Hickory installing hardwood floors in a new home. "We go where the work is," he said. Wallace said he has noticed things have been picking up lately, business wise, but is still wary of where the economy is going. When asked if the increase in business has been enough to hire more workers he was quick to answer. "No, not yet but I wish it was."
Contractors say Catawba County and the surrounding area was hit especially hard in the recession and is not recovering as fast as other parts of the nation. "People just aren't spending the money to build things," said a framer at a house project in Conover. Many expect it will be years before the construction business is back where it was.
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