U.S. News

FACTBOX: Many skyscrapers on hold due to global recession

(Reuters) - The recession-hit construction industry has idled 2 million workers in the United States alone. The overhang of millions of unsold and foreclosed homes and a weak commercial real estate market may delay a rebound.

Following are details of weakness in construction:

* Construction has been halted on 142, or 11 percent, of 1,324 tall skyscraper residential and mixed-used projects around the world. By continent: 36 of 329 projects in North America, 84 of 766 in Asia (includes Middle East), 11 of 117 in Europe, six of 75 in South America, five of 37 in Australia.

* Chicago downtown condominium sales were down a net 253 units in fourth quarter 2008, due to canceled contracts. Sales peaked at 8,162 units in 2005, and fell to 592 in 2008. There were 6,000 unsold units and 4,700 more condos to be added through 2009, though few additions seen in 2010 and 2011.

* U.S. unemployment statistics for February showed 2,025,000 jobless construction workers, a rate of 21 percent, the highest of any industry. Unemployment rates were 19 percent in agriculture, 12 percent in manufacturing, 11 percent in leisure and hospitality, 11 percent in professional and business services, 3 percent in government.

* 104,000 U.S. construction jobs were lost in February, the 20th consecutive month with significant job losses in the industry. In all, 1.1 million construction jobs have been lost since the beginning of 2007.

(Sources: Emporis GmbH, Appraisal Research Counselors, Laborers’ International Union of North America)

Reporting by Andrew Stern; Editing by Doina Chiacu