A closer look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary (JOLTS) for February, with a focus on the construction sector and additional analysis provided by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), reveals that the number of open construction positions continues to hold steady at 381,000 unfilled jobs. From a historical standpoint, the largest number of unfilled positions was 416,000 set in April 2019 (the data series goes back to 2000).
Construction sector hiring increased in February, climbing to a rate of 5.2%. The post COVID-19 pandemic peak rate of construction sector hiring took place in May of 2020 with an increase of 10.4%, the result of a rebound in both home building and remodeling.
Layoffs in February in the construction sector remained low at a 2% rate. The highest point of layoffs was 10.8% and that occurred at the start of the pandemic in April 2020. However, since that time, the layoff rate has remained below 3%, with the exception of February 2021 (the result of inclement weather on the construction sector). The layoff rate remains low, as a skilled labor shortage is ongoing.
The job openings rate in construction remained elevated at 4.8% in February, with 381,000 open positions in the sector. This is significantly higher than the 257,000 recorded a year ago. The number of quits in construction in February (169,000) remained steady, although this is off a data series high in November of 2021 (215,000).
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Steady Number of Open Construction Jobs