Real estate is booming in the Washington region: Sales are climbing; prices are rising; construction is up. And that is good news for the job market.

The region is creating jobs related to real estate at the fastest pace in the past five years. These jobs accounted for almost a fifth of the 65,600 new positions added in the year ended in September.

The category "real estate and rental and leasing," which includes residential and commercial real estate brokers as well as leasing agents at apartment buildings and offices, added 2,100 jobs in the last year, according to the Labor Department. It was, in fact, the biggest percentage gain for this part of the industry since 12 months ended in March 1999.

But construction is the real estate business that added the most jobs -- 10,700 in the 12 months ended in September. Most of those new jobs appear to be in development. Heavy and civil engineering construction, on the other hand -- the building of roads, bridges and the like, which is the other major generator of construction jobs -- accounted for only 1,900 of those jobs.

Local specialty trade contractors, such as drywall installers and roofers, added 7,600 jobs in the year ended in September.

-- Neil Irwin