Job Openings Slowing in Construction


Job openings in construction slowed again in October, as the sector experiences a two-tier recovery. As detailed in the November BLS employment data, over the past seven months, job gains in residential construction offset 96% of the jobs lost in March and April, in contrast to the 58% job recovery in nonresidential construction. On net, this has left job openings weaker in the overall construction sector.

Overall, hiring in the construction sector remained even in October, coming in at a 5.4% rate. The peak rate of hiring in 2020 occurred in May (9.7%).

Construction sector layoffs increased somewhat in October, rising to 2.6%. 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%.

The job openings rate in construction was steady in October, remaining at a 3% rate, with 230,000 open positions in the sector. This is lower than the 325,000 count recorded a year ago, as the construction labor market adjusts to new conditions post-virus.

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,, attracting skilled labor will remain a key objective for residential and nonresidential construction firms in the coming quarters.

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