Construction Sector Job Openings Shrink in January

A closer look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) for January, with a focus on the construction sector and additional analysis provided by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), reveals that the construction labor market experienced a substantial decline in job openings in January as the housing market slowed.

The number of open construction jobs declined from a series high of 488,000 in December 2022 to 248,000 in January. The job openings rate fell from 5.8% (again a series high) in December 2022 to 3.0% in January. The NAHB notes that this is not only a significant drop from the January 2022 reading of 396,000 open construction jobs, but the January level marks the lowest estimate for construction sector job openings since October 2020.

Hiring in the construction sector increased to a 5.0% rate in January. For comparison, the highest rate of hiring in the pandemic-era occurred in May 2020 (10.4%), as a rebound in residential building and remodeling took hold.

Construction sector layoffs ticked up to a 2.2% rate in January. At the start of the pandemic in April 2020, the layoff rate was 10.8%. Since that time, the sector layoff rate has been below 3%, with the exception of February 2021 due to adverse weather conditions. Nonetheless, the layoff rate has been above 2% for the last four out of five months, which the NAHB says is consistent with a weakening housing market trend.

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