Unfilled Construction Job Numbers Continued to Increase in March 2022

A closer look at today’s (5-3-22) U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), with the construction sector as the focal point and additional analysis provided by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), reveals that the construction labor market remained tight in March, and the number of job openings continued to increase year-over-year.

In March, the number of unfilled construction job positions was at 4.9%, with 396,000 open positions. That number is significantly higher than the 336,000-count recorded just a year ago. The highest measure in the history of the data series was 416,000 in April of 2019.

The NAHB notes that the housing market remains underbuilt and requires additional labor, as well as building lots, lumber and building materials to help overcome the current housing inventory shortage.

Construction sector hiring eased lower in March to a rate of 5.2%. The post-COVID-19 pandemic peak rate of hiring occurred in May 2020, when it jumped 10.4% higher, as a rebound in the home building and remodeling sector got underway.

Construction sector layoffs in March remained modest at a 1.6%. In April 2020, the layoff rate was 10.8%. Since that time, however, the sector layoff rate has been below 3%, with the exception of February 2021 due to weather effects. The rate trended lower in 2021 due to the skilled labor shortage and remains low in 2022.

The number of quits in construction in March was 242,000, a significant increase and was conspicuously higher than a year ago when they were at 187,000.

FEA compiles the Wood Markets News from various 3rd party sources to provide readers with the latest news impacting forest product markets. Opinions or views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent those of FEA.