Job openings in construction increased in March to 344,000 unfilled positions, according to data from the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). The housing market remains hot and requires additional labor, lots and lumber and building materials to add inventory.
Overall, hiring in the construction sector increased in March, rising to a 6% rate. The peak rate of hiring in 2020 occurred in May (10.3%) as a rebound took hold in home building and remodeling.
Construction sector layoffs ticked down in March to a 2% rate, consistent with the demand for more workers. In April 2020, the layoff rate was 10.9%. Since that time however, the sector layoff rate has been below 3%, with the exception of February 2021 due to weather effects.
The job openings rate in construction increased to 4.4% in March, with 344,000 open positions in the sector. This is higher than the 228,000 count recorded a year ago.
Looking forward, the construction job openings rate is likely to experience choppiness in the months ahead given divergent outlooks within the construction industry. Home building and remodeling were relative bright spots for the overall economy in 2020, while nonresidential construction is experiencing greater headwinds. Nonetheless, attracting skilled labor will remain a key objective for residential and nonresidential construction firms in the coming quarters.