The count of unfilled jobs in the construction sector declined in February, but remains higher than a year ago.
According to the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and NAHB analysis, the number of open construction sector jobs came in at 196,000 in February. The post-recession high count of open, unfilled construction jobs was 255,000 in July of last year. The number of open construction sector jobs was 169,000 a year ago.
The open position rate (job openings as a percentage of total employment plus current job openings) for February increased to 2.7%. On a smoothed, twelve-month moving average basis, the open position rate for the construction sector remained at 2.9%, a post-recession high.
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.
The construction sector hiring rate, as measured on a twelve-month moving average basis, held steady at 5.2% in February. The twelve-month moving average for layoffs is falling again, declining to 2.6%. The quits rate increased to 2.4% in January.
NAHB expects construction sector net hiring to continue in 2018 as the single-family construction market expands. However, as labor remains a top cited challenge to expansion, builders will increasingly explore options to find ways to build more with less.