Steel Markets

NAHB: Construction Job Openings Decline in June

Written by David Schollaert

The number of open construction jobs shrank to 334,000 in June, down from 405,000 in May and declining repeatedly from the record-high and top measure in the data series’ history of 449,000 unfilled positions in April, said the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

According to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the sector’s labor market is cooling off as economic activity slows in response to tighter monetary policy.

As forecasted over the last two months, the count of open construction jobs is now falling, ticking down to 4.2% in June, after reaching a data series high of 5.5% just two months prior.

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, yielding a slowing of the count of unfilled positions in the sector, NAHB said.

Hiring in the construction sector ticked down to a 4.5% 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 1.7% rate in June, even as building activity continued to slow. 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.

At 4.2%, the job openings rate in construction remained elevated in June, and significantly higher than the 329,000 recorded a year ago.

The number of quits in construction in June (179,000) was effectively flat relative to the measure a year ago (177,000).

“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 will take some pressure off tight labor markets, the long-term labor challenge will persist beyond an ongoing macro slowdown.”

By David Schollaert,

David Schollaert

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