While the nearly 278,000 people who worked in the Chicago-area commercial real estate industry in the second quarter was a marginal increase from a year earlier, it is still down nearly 22 percent from its peak in 2006. According to a Crain’s Chicago Business story on September 6, 2011, the decline in construction activity has made 77,000 jobs in the industry disappear, leaving electricians, plumbers and other tradespeople out of work.
While a senior economist for Moody’s Analytics Inc. told Crain’s that the “outlook has shifted down for Chicago just as it has for the nation,” the firm’s data also showed that construction accounts for the biggest share of local jobs, with about 44 percent currently.
Crain’s noted that occupancies in the “key sectors” (office, apartments, retail and industrial) are rising again, but “not many developers are talking about building again.” Furthermore, while getting a loan might be simpler than it was a year or so ago, “banks and other lenders are likely to become more cautious if the economy continues to weaken,” according to Crain’s.
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