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Labor challenge continues for builders

Open construction jobs more than double on a year-over-year basis.

BY HBSDealer Staff

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that construction job openings increased in April, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

The latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) points to an ongoing labor challenge for builders as the number of job openings in the construction sector increased to 404,000 in April. This marks a post-Great Recession high and a 57% increase from the open rate of 258,000 construction positions in April 2018.

The NAHB reports that the open rate – job openings as a percentage of total employment plus current job openings –  increased to 5.1% in April, also a cycle high.

On a smoothed, 12-month moving average basis, the open position rate for the construction sector increased to 4%. The peak (smoothed) rate during the building boom prior to the recession was just below 2.7%. For the current cycle, the sector has been above that rate since October 2016.

The NAHB forecast modest growth rates for housing construction for 2019 and 2020, which are likely to place downward pressure on construction job openings in future data releases. This year could be the year in which the job openings rate for construction levels off.

The construction sector hiring rate, as measured on a 12-month moving average basis, increased to 5.3% in April. The 12-month moving average for layoffs remained at 2.3%.

The latest JOLTS can be read here.

 

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