Open construction job rate on the rise

Finding skilled labor remains a challenge for builders.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The estimated number of job openings in the construction sector increased to 379,000 in August after reaching a post-Great Recession high of 434,000 in April, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOTS).

The August 2019 count of unfilled jobs represents a year-over-year gain compared to the 315,000 estimated unfilled construction jobs in August 2018.

The open position rate (job openings as a percentage of total employment plus current job openings) increased to 4.8% in August, after reaching a cycle high of 5.5% in April.

On a smoothed, 12-month moving average basis, the open position rate for the construction sector ticked up to 4.3%. 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 overall trend for open construction jobs has been increasing since the end of the Great Recession. In turn, skilled labor remains top business challenge for builders, the NAHB said.

The construction sector hiring rate, as measured on a 12-month moving average basis, held steady at 5.3% in August. The 12-month moving average for layoffs ticked up to 2.5%, continuing a rising trend in recent months, likely connected to some market churn associated with the recent home construction soft patch due to affordability concerns.




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