The construction labor market experienced a reduced level of turnover in the September BLS JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover) data.
The construction sector hiring rate slowed somewhat in September, coming in at 5.3%, after 5.5% gains in August and July. The peak rate of hiring in 2020 occurred in May (9.7%).
Construction sector layoffs have been low since May and continue to decline. In April, the layoff rate was 10.8%, after a loss of 7.9% in March. Since that time however, the layoff rate has been below 3%: 2.5% in May and 2.7% in June and July and 2.9% in August. That leveling off of layoffs continued in September, with the rate falling to just 1.4%. The September layoff rate was the lowest in the data series going back to 2001.
The job openings rate in construction declined in September to a 3.1% rate, with 229,000 open positions in construction. This is lower than the 333,000 count recorded a year ago, as the construction labor market adjusts to the new post-virus crisis period.
Looking forward, the job openings rate is likely to experience choppiness in the months ahead given divergent outlooks within the construction industry. Home building and remodeling are relative bright spots for the overall economy, while nonresidential construction will experience greater headwinds. Nonetheless, in total the BLS jobs market report estimated that the overall construction industry added, on a net basis, 84,000 jobs in October, with strong gains in residential and nonresidential construction.