Steel Markets

NAHB: Construction Job Openings Reach All-Time High

Written by David Schollaert

The number of open construction jobs jumped to a record-high 449,000 unfilled positions in April. This is the highest measure in the history of the data series (going back to late 2000), said the National Association of Home Builders.

According to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the labor market remains tight, as the industry sees a rising number of job openings year over year (YoY).

The housing market remains underbuilt and requires additional labor, lots, lumber, and building materials to add inventory. But the market is slowing because of higher interest rates, a trend likely to be reflected in construction labor market data in the months ahead, NAHB said.

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%, except for February 2021 due to weather effects. The rate trended lower in 2021 due to the skilled labor shortage and remains low in 2022 because 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 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,” NAHB chief economist Robert Dietz said. “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.”

By David Schollaert,

David Schollaert

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