Job openings in construction remained steady in November as net job gains continued, albeit with distinctions between residential and nonresidential construction. As detailed in the December BLS employment data, over the past eight months job gains in residential construction have offset all of the jobs lost in March and April. Sector employment now stands higher than in February. In contrast, only 61% of the net jobs lost in nonresidential construction have been regained.
Overall, hiring in the construction sector remained steady in November, coming in at a 5.4% rate. The peak rate of hiring in 2020 occurred in May (9.7%) as a rebound took hold in home building and remodeling.
Construction sector layoffs were steady at somewhat elevated levels in November at 2.7%. In April, the layoff rate was 10.8%, after a loss of 7.9% in March. Since that time however, the sector layoff rate has been below 3%.
The job openings rate in construction was steady in November, at a 3.1% rate, with 236,000 open positions in the sector. This is higher than the 215,000 count recorded a year ago, a sign of sector expansion amid the surge in housing demand.
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.