Robert Dietz, of the National Association of Home Builders, recently reported that the count of open construction jobs increased in April, according to the most recent figures available, to 357,000 unfilled positions, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). Dietz noted that the housing market remains hot and requires additional labor, lots and lumber and building materials to add inventory.
Overall, hiring in the construction sector slowed during the same timeframe, declining to a 4.5 percent rate. The recent peak rate of hiring occurred in May 2020 (10.3 percent) as a rebound took hold in home building and remodeling. Hiring has generally slowed since that time, with the exception of a weather-related rebound in March 2021.
Construction sector layoffs remained steady in April at a 2.1 percent rate, Dietz wrote. In April 2020, the layoff rate was 10.9 percent. Since that time however, the sector layoff rate has been below 3 percent, with the exception of February 2021 due to weather effects.
The job openings rate in construction increased to 4.6 percent in April, with 357,000 open positions in the sector. This is higher than the 220,000 count recorded a year ago and is the highest level since May 2019.
Looking forward, the construction job openings rate is likely to experience choppiness in the months ahead given divergent outlooks within the construction industry.
Nonetheless, attracting skilled labor will remain a key objective for residential and nonresidential construction firms in the coming quarters and will become more challenging as the rest of the economy reopens.