I've been a general contractor for 25 years. I typically build 3 new houses a year but haven't even had a bid on one in the last few years. In the last month I've got calls for 3 houses one of which I just finished designing and the other 2 are in the works. I hope it's a sign that things are improving, sure will help my bottom line.
My wife has been laid off since last January. She has applied for many jobs and had a fair number of interviews, but nothing has come up to be a job. I think the unemployment rate is going down because people are falling off because they haven't found a job and their unemployment runs out so they aren't counted anymore.