Job openings remain flat

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Dive Brief:

  • Construction counted 339,000 open jobs on the last day of May, down 2,000 or about 0.6%, from the end of the previous month, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Tuesday. The monthly report measures the seasonally adjusted number of unfilled jobs for which employers are actively hiring.
  • In May, 4% of construction jobs went unfilled, compared to 4.5% in May of last year. Construction’s slight month-to-month dip was reflective of all industries, as hires and separations both changed little from April.
  • Despite decreases in job openings, construction’s labor woes persist. “While the number of open, unfilled construction positions has declined over the past year, the industry is still faced with widespread labor shortages,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu in a release.

Dive Insight:

The decrease in open jobs amid a still-tight labor market has been an ongoing trend for construction throughout the year. 

Following a decrease in openings last month, Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America, said he believes nonresidential builders have seen little change in demand.

“The decline in job openings may be limited to home builders and subcontractors, along with building contractors that work mainly on multifamily, office or warehouse projects,” Simonson told Construction Dive following the April report. Construction counted 9,000 fewer jobs in April compared to March.

Another sign of a tight labor market is the number of quits (199,000 in May) outweighing the number of layoffs and discharges that same month (147,000).

“Over half of contractors intend to increase their staffing levels during the next six months, according to ABC’s Construction Confidence Index,” said Basu. “As a result of this ongoing intention to hire and the lack of available workers, contractors laid off just 1.8% of the workforce in May, a smaller share than in any month on record prior to late 2021.”

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