The number of open, unfilled construction sector positions increased in October. The number of construction sector job openings was also revised higher for September.
According to the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and NAHB analysis, the number of open construction sector jobs for October (on a seasonally adjusted basis) rose to 136,000, after the September count was revised higher to 112,000. The October level marks the 4th highest total of unfilled jobs in construction during the post-recession period.
On a three-month moving average basis, the open position rate for the construction sector held steady at 2% for October. This rate remains higher than any level prior to the start of 2013 and after the end of the Great Recession.
The sector hiring rate, as measured on a three-month moving average basis, declined in October to approximately 5%, after a significant rise during the summer.
Monthly employment data for November 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/remodeling stands at 2.332 million, broken down as 677,000 builders and 1.655 million residential specialty trade contractors.
In November, home builders and remodelers added 16,700 jobs to the residential construction sector on a seasonally adjusted basis. Over the last 12 months, the industry has created 122,000 jobs.
Since the low point of industry employment following the Great Recession, the residential construction industry has gained 348,300 positions, although employment remains 1.118 million lower than the peak level seen in early 2006. Employment growth for the sector has been steady recently, adding on average just a little more than 11,000 jobs per month over the last six months.
For the economy as a whole, the October JOLTS data indicate that the hiring rate held at 3.6% of total employment, although this will increase next month given the very positive jobs report for November. The hiring rate had been in the 3.1% to 3.5% range since January 2011. The overall job openings rate ticked up to 3.3%, after reaching in August the highest rate of open jobs for the overall labor market since 2007 (3.4%).
These recent labor market indicators signal good news ahead for job creation and housing demand.