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 jumped to 449,000 unfilled positions in April. This is the highest measure in the history of the data series (going back to late 2000). The housing market remains underbuilt and requires additional labor, lots and lumber and building materials to add inventory. However, the market is now slowing due to higher interest rates and this will likely be reflected in construction labor market data in the months ahead.
Hiring in the construction sector ticked down to a 4.6% 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 1.5% rate in April. 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 as the market remains tight.
The job openings rate in construction remained elevated at 5.6% in April, with 449,000 open positions in the sector. This is significantly higher than the 329,000 count recorded a year ago.
The number of quits in construction in April (221,000) marked a slight monthly decline but was higher than a year ago (187,000).
Looking forward, attracting skilled labor will remain a key objective for construction firms in the coming years. However, while a slowing housing market may take some pressure off tight labor markets, the long-term labor challenge will persist beyond upcoming business cycle events.