Calif. economy improves, but not for construction


"Very slow growth in California for 2011, we're going to grow faster in 2012, and faster than the U.S., and then growth accelerates in 2013," said UCLA Anderson Forecast economist Jerry Nickelsburg.

Nickelsburg said one sector that won't be seeing a strong recovery any time soon is construction.

"We're going to have several hundred thousand displaced construction workers who are going to be moving into other segments of the workforce. That's a process that takes some time. It's a painful process, and we generally expect it to be about five to seven years," said Nickelsburg.

Behind those numbers are people like unemployed construction worker and father of four, Alex Holmberg Jr., who is now out of steady work for a year and struggling to feed his family.

"It's a little frustrating. Well, it's a lot frustrating, because basically that's what your goal is, to provide for your family. When you don't meet those goals, it really takes away from you deep down inside," Holmberg said.

Economists blame a halt on new single family housing and they said the jobs aren't coming back.

"I've seen a lot of guys walk out and try to get themselves going by doing something else, but it just doesn't happen. It's not there. The work isn't there," said Holmberg.

Holmberg said he's considering moving out of state. He is the face of nearly 40 percent of construction workers now jobless. But for those struggling through it, a bit of optimism never hurt.

"I'm proud to be what I'm doing now and I'm not going to change, and I believe that it's going to come back. It's just a matter of time," said Holmberg.

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