Private sector construction employment increased 8.3 percent from June 1996 to June 1997 (900 new jobs with a total of 11,700) and had the largest percentage growth of all the sectors in the El Paso economy during that same period (Texas Workforce Commission, July 1997). Furthermore, industrial space is 91 percent of full capacity, prompting a healthy increase in new building construction. During the first half of 1997, building permits were issued for construction of 1,472,933 square feet of new warehouse-manufacturing space (Wolfe Real Estate Inc., 1997).

The majority of new construction is occurring in the single family housing, multi-family housing, and commercial categories. Lower interest rates, in-migration, high birth rates and large numbers of first-time buyers are fueling the demand for more single-family housing. This growth trend in housing construction is expected to continue with Fannie Mae's $500 million commitment to El Paso for the construction of affordable housing.