Construction Job Openings Cool at the Start of 2014

April 8, 2014

The number of open, unfilled construction sector jobs declined at the start of 2014, according to the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). While the February open rate is the fifth highest since the end of the recession, the count of open construction jobs fell during a period when unseasonably cold weather took a toll on numerous parts of the economy.

For the construction sector, monthly gross hiring declined slightly, falling on a seasonally adjusted basis from 281,000 to 273,000 from January to February. Over the same period, the hiring rate, as measured on a 3-month moving average basis, fell from 4.7% to 4.5%.

JOLTS_Feb 2014 data

Measured as a three-month moving average, the construction openings rate (the blue line above) has declined since December, inclusive of a significant downward revision for the preliminary January data. As of February 2014, the three-month moving average stood at 2%, a rate higher than any data reporting prior to October 2013 but lower than the December 2013 peak of 2.33%.

Two other changes in the construction sector are worth noting. First, the layoff rate for the sector (graphed above as a 12-month moving average) has continued to fall. Second, the sector hiring rate has fallen noticeably since the fall of 2013. The trend lines over the last two years – a falling hiring rate, an increasing opening rate, and a declining layoff rate – are consistent with some construction firms having trouble contracting with workers for specific projects. However, future employment reports will indicate whether recent hiring weakness is mostly due to weather effects or reflects new baselines for construction activity.

Monthly employment data for March 2014 (the employment count data from the BLS establishment survey are published one month ahead of the JOLTS data) indicate that total employment in home building stands at 2.242 million, broken down as 650,000 builders and 1.592 million residential specialty trade contractors.

res construction employment

According to the BLS data, over the last year the home building sector has added 103,000 jobs. Since the point of peak decline of home building employment, when total job losses for the industry stood at 1.466 million, 257,500 positions have been added to the residential construction sector. As of March, over the last six months the home building and remodeling industry has added on average more than 10,000 jobs per month.

For the economy as a whole, the February JOLTS data indicate that the hiring rate was constant at 3.3% of total employment. The hiring rate has been in the 3.1% to 3.4% range since January 2011. The current overall job openings rate (2.9%) has been in the 2.7% to 2.9% range since the start of 2013.


Construction Job Openings Rate at Second Highest Level Since 2007

March 11, 2014

The number of open, unfilled construction sector jobs increased 38% from 113,000 in January of 2013 to 156,000 in January of 2014, according to the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). The January count of open jobs in the sector is the second highest since May 2008.

While the recent increase in unfilled positions is consistent with the increase in construction sector activity, particularly for home building, the data continue to reflect only modest growth in total employment. The rise in the count of open positions thus matches reports of local labor shortages.

For the construction sector, monthly gross hiring increased somewhat, rising on a seasonally adjusted basis from 251,000 to 285,000 from December to January. Over the same period, the hiring rate, as measured on a 3-month moving average basis, fell from 5.1% to 4.7%. The pace of construction hiring slowed during 2013 compared to 2012 levels and this trend continued at the start of 2014.

cosntr labor market

Measured as a three-month moving average, the openings rate (the blue line above) has staged a noticeable rise since September 2012, with a brief pause during the middle of 2013. As of January 2014, the three-month moving average stood at 2.5%, a post-recession high. This recent increase in open positions occurred at the same time as the hiring rate began to fall.

Combined with a declining sector layoff rate (non-seasonally adjusted), charted as a 12-month moving average in the graph above, the uptick in open positions since 2012 suggests more, if modest, construction hiring in the months ahead – if firms can find workers with the right skills.

Monthly employment data for February 2014 (the employment count data from the BLS establishment survey are published one month ahead of the JOLTS data) indicate that total employment in home building stands at 2.227 million, broken down as 648,000 builders and 1.579 million residential specialty trade contractors.

res constr employment

According to the BLS data, over the last year the home building sector has added 101,000 jobs. Since the point of peak decline of home building employment, when total job losses for the industry stood at 1.466 million, 243,000 positions have been added to the residential construction sector. As of February, over the last six months the home building and remodeling industry has added on average more than 8,000 jobs per month.

For the economy as a whole, the January JOLTS data indicate that the hiring rate was constant at 3.3% of total employment. The hiring rate has been in the 3.1% to 3.4% range since January 2011. The current overall job openings rate (2.8%) has been in the 2.7% to 2.9% range since the start of 2013.


Significant Increase in Unfilled Construction Jobs During 2013

February 11, 2014

The number of open, unfilled construction sector jobs increased 51% from 95,000 in December of 2012 to 143,000 in December of 2013, according to the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). The count of open jobs in the sector is the highest since May 2008.

While the recent increase in unfilled positions is consistent with the increase in construction sector activity, particularly for home building, the data continue to reflect only modest growth in total employment. The rise in the count of open positions thus matches reports of local labor shortages.

For the construction sector, monthly gross hiring fell back, declining on a seasonally adjusted basis from 293,000 to 269,000 from November to December. Over the same period, the hiring rate, as measured on a 3-month moving average basis, fell from 5.2% to 5.0%. The pace of construction hiring slowed during 2013 compared to 2012 levels.

construction labor market_Dec.png

Measured as a three-month moving average, the openings rate (the blue line above) has staged a noticeable rise since September 2012, with a brief pause during the middle of 2013. As of December, the three-month moving average stood at 2.3%, a post-recession high. This recent increase in open positions occurred at the same time as the hiring rate began to fall.

Combined with a declining sector layoff rate (non-seasonally adjusted), charted as a 12-month moving average in the graph above, the uptick in open positions since 2012 suggests more, if modest, construction hiring in the months ahead – if firms can find workers with the right skills.

Revised monthly employment data for January 2014 (the employment count data from the BLS establishment survey are published one month ahead of the JOLTS data) indicate that total employment in home building stands at 2.231 million, broken down as 647,000 builders and 1.584 million residential specialty trade contractors.

res construction_Jan

According to the BLS data, over the last year the home building sector has added 121,000 jobs. Since the point of peak decline of home building employment, when total job losses for the industry stood at 1.466 million, 247,000 positions have been added to the residential construction sector. As of January, over the last six months the industry has added on average more than 10,000 jobs per month.

For the economy as a whole, the November JOLTS data indicate that the hiring rate dipped to 3.2% of total employment. The hiring rate has been in the 3.1% to 3.4% range since January 2011. The current overall job openings rate (2.8%) has been at this level for three out of last four months.


Construction Job Openings Rate Highest Since 2007

January 17, 2014

The November jobs openings rate for the construction sector (2.3%) was the highest since April 2007 according to the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). The job openings rate measures the number of unfilled positions as a share of total sector employment.

While the recent increase in unfilled positions is consistent with the increase in construction sector activity, particularly for home building, the data continue to reflect only modest growth in total employment. The rise in the count of open positions is thus consistent with reports of local labor shortages.

For the construction sector, monthly gross hiring fell back, declining from 329,000 to 294,000 from October to November. Over the same period, the hiring rate, as measured on a 3-month moving average basis, fell from 5.3% to 5.2%. The pace of construction hiring has slowed during 2013 compared to 2012 levels.

Constr Labor Mkt_11_13

Consistent with reports of some labor shortages for builders, the count of open, unfilled positions in the construction industry was the highest since May 2008. The total of unfilled positions in the sector for November (139,000) marks nine out of the last eleven months for which this number has equaled or exceeded 100,000.

Measured as a three-month moving average, the openings rate (the blue line above) has staged a noticeable rise since September 2012, with a brief pause during the middle of 2013. This rise occurred at the same time as the hiring rate began to fall.

Combined with a declining sector layoff rate (non-seasonally adjusted), charted as a 12-month moving average in the graph above, the uptick in open positions since 2012 suggests more, if modest, construction hiring in the months ahead – if firms can find workers with the right skills.

Monthly employment data for December 2013 (the employment count data from the BLS establishment survey are published one month ahead of the JOLTS data) indicate that total employment in home building stands at 2.177 million, broken down as 601,000 builders and 1.576 million residential specialty trade contractors.

BLS Res Constr Employ_11_13

According to the BLS data, year-over-year, the home building sector has added 100,000 jobs. Since the point of peak decline of home building employment, when total job losses for the industry stood at 1.466 million, 193,000 positions have been added to the residential construction sector. For 2013, home building employment is averaging monthly net growth of about 8,300 positions.

For the economy as a whole, the November JOLTS data indicate that the hiring rate was unchanged at 3.3% of total employment. The hiring rate has been in the 3.1% to 3.4% range since January 2011. The job openings rate (2.8%) has been at this level for three straight months. This job openings rate matches the post-recession high.


Construction Sector Job Openings Reach Five-Year High in October

December 10, 2013

The number of unfilled construction sector positions (124,000) reached a five-year high according to the October BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS).

While the increase in unfilled positions in 2013 is consistent with the increase in construction sector activity, particularly for home building, the data continue to reflect only modest growth in total employment thus far. The rise in the count of open positions is thus consistent with reports of local labor shortages.

For the construction sector, monthly gross hiring ticked up, rising from 299,000 to 307,000 from September to October. The hiring rate, as measured on a 3-month moving average basis, was  unchanged at 5.2%. The pace of construction hiring has slowed since the end of 2012, and this trend has continued into the fall of 2013.

Picture1

Consistent with reports of some labor shortages for builders, the number of open, unfilled positions in the construction industry reached a five-year high. The total of unfilled positions in the sector for October (124,000) marks eight out of the last ten months for which this number has equaled or exceeded 100,000. Successfully filling open positions with qualified workers is a top concern for home builders in 2013.

The October job openings rate (open positions measured as a percentage of current employment) for construction was 2.1%. Measured as a three-month moving average, the openings rate (the blue line above) has staged a noticeable rise since September 2012, although the growth in the open rate has slowed since February. This rise occurred at the same time as the hiring rate began to fall.

Combined with a declining sector layoff rate (non-seasonally adjusted), charted as a 12-month moving average in the graph above, the uptick in open positions since 2012 suggests more, if modest, construction hiring in the months ahead – if firms can find workers with the right skills. However, the recent soft patch in some construction activity may also reduce the pace of hiring. The data for November will reveal if job openings for the construction sector will fall.

Monthly employment data for November 2013 (the employment count data from the BLS establishment survey are published one month ahead of the JOLTS data) indicate that total employment in home building stands at 2.167 million, broken down as 596,000 builders and 1.571 million residential specialty trade contractors.

res constr employ_Dec13

According to the BLS data, over the last 12 months, the home building sector has added 90,000 jobs. Since the point of peak decline of home building employment, when total job losses for the industry stood at 1.467 million, 184,000 positions have been added to the residential construction sector. Thus far in 2013, home building employment is averaging monthly net growth of about 8,200 positions.

For the economy as a whole, the October JOLTS data indicate that the hiring rate was relatively unchanged at 3.3% of total employment. The hiring rate has been in the 3.1% to 3.4% range since January 2011. The job openings rate was unchanged at 2.8%, which matches the highest such rate since 2008.


Construction Job Openings Ticked Up In September

November 22, 2013

September saw another slight rise in the number of unfilled construction sector positions according to the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS).

While the increase of unfilled positions in 2013 is consistent with the increase in construction sector activity, particularly for home building, the data continue to reflect only modest growth in total employment thus far. The rise in the count of open positions is thus consistent with reports of local labor shortages.

For the construction sector, monthly gross hiring was relatively unchanged, falling from 298,000 to 295,000 from August to September. The hiring rate, as measured on a 3-month moving average basis, was also unchanged at 5.2%. Nonetheless, the pace of construction hiring has slowed since the end of 2012, and this trend has continued into the fall of 2013.

constr labor mkt

Consistent with reports of some labor shortages for builders, the number of open, unfilled positions in the construction industry remains at levels last seen five years ago. The number of unfilled positions in the sector for September (113,000) marks seven out of the last nine months for which this total has equaled or exceeded 100,000. Successfully filling open positions with qualified workers is a top concern for home builders in 2013.

The September job openings rate (open positions measured as a percentage of current employment) for construction was 1.9%. Measured as a three-month moving average, the openings rate (the blue line above) has staged a noticeable rise since September 2012, although the growth in the open rate has slowed since February. This rise occurred at the same time as the hiring rate began to fall.

Combined with a declining sector layoff rate (non-seasonally adjusted), charted as a 12-month moving average in the graph above, the uptick in open positions since 2012 suggests more, if modest, construction hiring in the months ahead – if firms can find workers with the right skills. However, the recent soft patch in some construction activity may also reduce the pace of hiring. The data for October and November will reveal if job openings for the construction sector will fall.

Monthly employment data for October 2013 (the employment count data from the BLS establishment survey are published one month ahead of the JOLTS data) indicate that total employment in home building stands at 2.156 million, broken down as 593,000 builders and 1.563 million residential specialty trade contractors.

res constr employ

According to the BLS data, over the last 12 months, the home building sector has added 92,000 jobs. Since the point of peak decline of home building employment, when total job losses for the industry stood at 1.466 million, 173,000 positions have been added to the residential construction sector. Thus far in 2013, home building employment is averaging monthly net growth of about 7,900 positions.

For the economy as a whole, the September JOLTS data indicate that the hiring rate was relatively unchanged at 3.4% of total employment. The hiring rate has been in the 3.1% to 3.4% range since January 2011. The job openings rate rose from 2.7% to 2.8%, which matches the highest such rate since 2008.


Number of Unfilled Construction Jobs Rose in August

October 24, 2013

August saw a rise in the number of unfilled construction sector positions according to the better-late-than-never BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), which was delayed due to the government shutdown.

While the increase of unfilled positions in 2013 is consistent with the uptick in construction sector activity, particularly for home building, the data continue to reflect only modest increases in total employment thus far. The rise in the count of open positions is thus consistent with reports of local labor shortages.

For the construction sector, gross hiring declined, falling from 307,000 to 298,000 from July to August. The hiring rate, as measured on a 3-month moving average basis, also posted a drop, falling from 5.4% to 5.2%. The pace of construction hiring has slowed since the end of 2012, and this trend has continued into the fall of 2013.

constr labor mkt

Consistent with reports of some labor shortages for builders, the number of open, unfilled positions in the construction industry remains at levels last seen five years ago. The number of unfilled positions in the sector for August (111,000) marks six out of the eight months for which this total has equaled or exceeded 100,000. Successfully filling open positions with qualified workers is a top concern for home builders in 2013.

The August job openings rate (open positions measured as a percentage of current employment) for construction was 1.9%. Measured as a three-month moving average, the openings rate (the blue line above) has staged a noticeable rise since September 2012, although the growth in the open rate has slowed since February. This rise occurred at the same time as the hiring rate slowed.

Combined with a declining sector layoff rate (non-seasonally adjusted), charted as a 12-month moving average in the graph above, the uptick in open positions since 2012 suggests more, if modest, construction hiring in the months ahead – if firms can find workers with the right skills. The recent soft patch in some construction activity may also reduce hiring.

Monthly employment data for September 2013 (the employment count data from the BLS establishment survey are published one month ahead of the JOLTS data) indicate that total employment in home building stands at 2.151 million, broken down as 587,000 builders and 1.5625 million residential specialty trade contractors.

cosntr_employ.png

According to the BLS data, over the last 12 months, the home building sector has added 99,000 jobs. Since the point of peak decline of home building employment, when total job losses for the industry stood at 1.466 million, 168,000 positions have been added to the residential construction sector.

While employment growth for the sector is not expected to occur at rates seen for the expansion in overall building activity, the current level of improvement for building employment remains a puzzle. This small amount of job creation could be due to increased hours for existing workers, but if true, this is not a sustainable situation. Expected increases in building should lead to further growth in residential construction employment over the course of the year. Thus far in 2013, home building employment is averaging monthly growth of about 8,300 positions.

For the economy as a whole, the July JOLTS data indicate that the hiring rate was unchanged at 3.3% of total employment. The hiring rate has been in the 3.1% to 3.4% range since January 2011. The job openings rate rose from 2.7% to 2.8%, which matches the highest such rate since 2008.


Construction Employment Update: Unfilled Jobs

September 10, 2013

The count of construction sector job openings in recent months is at levels last seen in 2008 according to government employment data. While the increase of unfilled positions in 2013 is consistent with the uptick in construction sector activity, particularly for home building, the data reflect only modest increases in total employment thus far. The rise in the count of open positions is thus consistent with reports of local labor shortages.

For the construction sector, Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate that gross hiring was flat, falling from 309,000 to 308,000 from June to July. The hiring rate, as measured on a 3-month moving average basis, was also effectively unchanged, rising from 5.2% to 5.3%. The pace of construction hiring has slowed since the end of 2012.

constr

Consistent with reports of some labor shortages for builders, the number of open, unfilled positions in the construction industry remains at levels last seen five years ago. The number of unfilled positions in the sector for July (100,000) marks six out of the seven most recent months for which this total has equaled or exceeded 100,000. Successfully filling open positions with qualified workers is a top concern for home builders in 2013.

The July job openings rate (open positions measured as a percentage of current employment) for construction was 1.7%. Measured as a three-month moving average, the openings rate (the blue line above) has staged a noticeable rise since September 2012, although the growth in the open rate has slowed since February.

Combined with a declining sector layoff rate (non-seasonally adjusted), charted as a 12-month moving average in the graph above, the uptick in open positions since 2012 suggests more construction hiring in the months ahead – if firms can find workers with the right skills.

Monthly employment data for August 2013 (the employment count data from the BLS establishment survey are published one month ahead of the JOLTS data) indicate that total employment in home building stands at 2.146 million, broken down as 583,000 builders and 1.562 million residential specialty trade contractors.

res constr

According to the BLS data, over the last 12 months, the home building sector has added 98,000 jobs. Since the point of peak decline of home building employment, when total job losses for the industry stood at 1.466 million, 162,000 positions have been added to the residential construction sector.

While employment growth for the sector is not expected to occur at rates seen for the expansion in overall building activity, the current level of improvement for building employment remains a puzzle. This small amount of job creation could be due to increased hours for existing workers, but if true, this is not a sustainable situation. Expected increases in building should lead to further growth in residential construction employment over the course of the year. Thus far in 2013, home building employment is averaging monthly growth of about 8,500 positions.

For the economy as a whole, the July JOLTS data indicate that the hiring rate was unchanged at 3.2% of total employment. The hiring rate has been in the 3.1% to 3.4% range since January 2011. The job openings rate was unchanged fell from 2.8% in June to 2.6% in July, the lowest rate since January 2013.

labor mkt


Number of Open Construction Jobs Hits Five-Year High

August 6, 2013

New government employment data indicate that the June count of construction sector job openings was the highest total since May 2008. While the increase in unfilled positions is consistent with the uptick in construction sector activity, particularly for home building, the data reflect only modest increases in total employment thus far. The rising count of open positions is thus consistent with reports of local labor shortages.

For the construction sector, Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate that gross hiring declined, falling from 317,000 to 300,00 from May to June. The hiring rate, as measured on a 3-month moving average basis, continued to slow, falling to 5.2% in June.

constr labor mkt

Consistent with reports of some labor shortages for builders, the number of open, unfilled positions in the construction industry reached a five-year high in June. The number of unfilled positions in the sector climbed to 133,000 from 102,000 in May. This marks five of the last six months for which the total number of open positions was greater than 100,000. This is the first time this has occurred since 2008. Successfully filling open positions with qualified workers is a top concern for home builders in 2013.

The June job openings rate (open positions measured as a percentage of current employment) for construction was 2.2%. Measured as a three-month moving average, the openings rate (the blue line above) has staged a noticeable rise since September 2012. Combined with a declining sector layoff rate (non-seasonally adjusted), charted as a 12-month moving average in the graph above, these factors suggest more net construction hiring in the months ahead – if firms can find workers with the right skills.

Monthly employment data for July 2013 (the employment count data from the BLS establishment survey are published one month ahead of the JOLTS data) indicate that total employment in home building stands at 2.137 million, broken down as 584,000 builders and 1.553 million residential specialty trade contractors.

builder employment

According to the BLS data, over the last 12 months, the home building sector has added 89,000 jobs. Since the point of peak decline of home building employment, when total job losses for the industry stood at 1.466 million, 153,000 positions have been added to the residential construction sector.

While employment growth for the sector is not expected to occur at rates seen for the growth in overall building activity, the current level of improvement for total employment remains a puzzle. This small amount of job creation could be due to increased hours for existing workers, but if true, this is not a sustainable situation. Expected increases in building should lead to further growth in residential construction employment over the course of the year. Thus far in 2013, home building employment is averaging monthly growth of about 9,000 positions.

For the economy as a whole, the June JOLTS data indicate that the hiring rate fell slightly to 3.1% of total employment. The hiring rate has been in the 3.1% to 3.4% range since January 2011. The job openings rate was unchanged at 2.8% in June.

labor mkt


Number of Open Construction Jobs Remains High

July 9, 2013

Government employment data indicate that the count of construction sector job openings for the months of 2013 is the highest since 2008. While the increase in unfilled positions is consistent with the uptick in construction sector activity, particularly for home building, the data reflect only modest increases in total employment thus far.

For the construction sector, Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate that gross hiring rose to 307,000 in May from 283,00 in April. However, the hiring rate, as measured on a 3-month moving average basis, has been slowing since the start of 2013.

Constr labor mkt

Consistent with reports of some labor shortages for builders, the number of open, unfilled positions in the construction industry remains near post-Great Recession highs. The number of unfilled positions in the sector stood at 103,000 in May, marking four of the last five months for which the total number of open positions was greater than 100,000. This is the first time this has occurred since 2008. Successfully filling open positions with qualified workers is a top concern for home builders in 2013.

The May job openings rate (open positions measured as a percentage of current employment) for construction was 1.7%. Measured as a three-month moving average, the openings rate (the blue line above) has staged a noticeable rise since September 2012. Combined with a declining sector layoff rate (nonseasonally adjusted), charted as a 12-month moving average in the graph above, these factors suggest more net construction hiring in the months ahead – if firms can find workers with the right skills.

Monthly employment data for June 2013 (the employment count data from the BLS establishment survey are published one month ahead of the JOLTS data) indicate that total employment in home building stands at 2.133 million, broken down as 585,000 builders and 1.548 million residential specialty trade contractors.

Res Constr Employ

According to the BLS data, over the last 12 months, the home building sector has added 90,000 jobs. Since the point of peak decline of home building employment, when total job losses for the industry stood at 1.466 million, 149,000 positions have been added to the residential construction sector.

While employment growth for the sector is not expected to occur at rates seen for the growth in overall building activity, the current level of improvement for total employment remains a puzzle. This small amount of job creation could be due to increased hours for existing workers, but if true, this is not a sustainable situation. Expected increases in building should lead to further growth in residential construction employment over the course of the year. Thus far in 2013, home building employment is averaging monthly growth of about 9,000.

For the economy as a whole, the May JOLTS data indicate that the hiring rate was relatively unchanged at 3.3% of total employment. The hiring rate has been in the 3.1% to 3.4% range since January 2011. The job openings rate was also unchanged at 2.7% in May.

Labor Market


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