The U.S. Census Bureau has a visualization that shows some of what we use to build a house, how much we spent (as a country), and how many jobs were created during 2018 and 2019.
Let’s take a look.
Housing can jumpstart or retard economic growth. Below you can see the industries that participate. Ranging from asphalt shingles to mattresses, the manufactured goods that populate a house send many millions of dollars to the GDP:
All dollar and employment numbers (below) are from the graphic (above):
Value of Shipments Employment Value of Shipments Employment
Asphalt Truss Manufacturing
2018: $11,016,563 10,136 2018: $7,161,813 33,197
2019: $11,170,428 9,987 2019: $7,703,694 30,946
Concrete Block and Brick Radio & TV Broadcasting & Wireless
2018: $4,852,420 15,760 2018: $26,841,246 61,135
2019: $4,686,965 16,298 2019: $26,859,934 58,119
Paint and Coating Upholstered Household Furniture
2018: $27,352,252 35,569 2018: $12,714,344 69,611
2019: $26,439,617 34,683 2019: $11,964,222 64,511
Residential Electric Lighting Fixtures Mattress Manufacturing
2018: $2,016,360 6,296 2018: $7,061,471 21,130
2019: $2,169,078 5,831 2019: $7,177,489 19,440
Wood Window & Door Manufacturing Major Household Appliances
2018: $13,283,582 54,155 2018: $19,551,044 42,395
2019: $13,559,877 52,436 2019: $20,516,602 43,170
Wood Kitchen Cabinets & Countertops Cut Stock, Resawing Lumber & Planing
2018: $15,245,502 97,981 2018: $6,002,482 21,693
2019: $14,224,367 89,719 2019: $5,554,342 20,394
Air-Conditioning & Warm Air Heating Equipment & Commercial & Industrial Refrigeration Equipment
2018: $33,422,551 95,074
2019: $34,194,512 95,354
2018: $8,531,996 15,658
2019: $9,018,680 15,590
Our Bottom Line: The GDP
We could say that housing-related manufacturing is all about the GDP. While the GDP has four components–Consumption, Gross Investment, Government, Net Exports–housing takes us primarily to two of them. When the house was first built, its selling price would have been included as a part of the Gross Investment component. Yes, Gross Investment mainly reflects business spending. But here, the house is defined as an investment. Next, we need to ask who purchased the goods we listed. If you or I bought an appliance, then it is a Consumption Expenditure. When the contractor is the buyer, then it becomes a part of the price of the house. So, the concrete is added to the house itself. However, like some appliances, the furniture is a consumption expenditure.
The Congressional Research Service looked at our housing spending:
My sources and more: This U.S. Census Bureau site had the visuals and the numbers. Then, if you want to learn more about the GDP, the one source I suggest is GDP; A Brief But Affectionate History. From there, for current stats, do go to the U.S. BEA and to the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow model (which currently is at six percent growth for the 3rd quarter).