The count of unfilled jobs in the construction sector increasing significantly in June, after falling in May.
According to the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and NAHB analysis, the number of open construction sector jobs (on a seasonally adjusted basis) increased to 225,000 in June. The cycle high was 238,000, set in July of last year. The June count is the highest since September 2016, and is higher than the 171,000 estimate recorded in June of 2016.
The open position rate (job openings as a percent of total employment) for June expanded to 3.2%. On a smoothed twelve-month moving average basis, the open position rate for the construction sector increased to 2.7%.
The overall trend for open construction jobs has been increasing since the end of the Great Recession. This is consistent with survey data indicating that access to labor remains a top business challenge for builders. However, recent data indicate a leveling off of the count of unfilled construction jobs, albeit at levels higher prior to 2016.
The construction sector hiring rate, as measured on a twelve-month moving average basis, increased slightly to 5.3% in June. The twelve-month moving average for layoffs was steady (2.6%), remaining in a range set in 2014. The recent increase in the quits rate, an indicator of labor market churn, continued to slow in June to a 2% rate.
Overall, the labor market for construction workers remains tight as it continues to expand. Home builders and remodelers added 118,00 job over the last 12 months, and industry employment has increased by more than 717,000 since the low point after the Great Recession. As housing starts continue to increase, more workers will be needed in the residential construction sector.