The construction labor market remains tight, as the industry sees a rising number of job openings year-over-year.
The count of open construction jobs remained steady at 381,000 unfilled positions in February. The highest measure in the history of the data series (going back to late 2000) was 416,000 in April 2019. The housing market remains underbuilt and requires additional labor, lots and lumber and building materials to add inventory.
Hiring in the construction sector increased in February, rising to a 5.2% rate. The post-virus peak rate of hiring occurred in May 2020 (10.4%) as a rebound took hold in home building and remodeling.
Construction sector layoffs remained low at a 2% rate in February. In April 2020, the layoff rate was 10.8%. Since that time however, the sector layoff rate has been below 3%, with the exception of February 2021 due to weather effects. The rate trended lower in 2021 due to the skilled labor shortage and remains low in 2022.
The job openings rate in construction remained elevated at 4.8% in February, with 381,000 open positions in the sector. This is significantly higher than the 257,000 count recorded a year ago.
The number of quits in construction in February (169,000) remained steady, although this is off a data series high in November (215,000).
Looking forward, the construction job openings rate is likely to see increased upward pressure as both the residential and nonresidential construction sectors expand. Attracting skilled labor will remain a key objective for construction firms in the coming quarters and will become more challenging as the labor market strengthens and the unemployment rate declines.