Unfilled construction jobs reach new high

The count of unfilled jobs in the construction sector increased in July, reaching yet another post-Great Recession high level, the National Association of Home Builders reported.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and NAHB analysis, the number of open construction sector jobs increased to 273,000 in July.

The prior post-recession high count of open, unfilled construction jobs was 267,000 in June. For July 2017, the count was at 255,000.

The open position rate (job openings as a percentage of total employment plus current job openings) held at 3.6% in July. The rate was 3.5% last July.

On 12-month moving average basis, the open position rate for the construction sector grew  to 3.1%, also a post-recession high. The peak 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 November 2016.

The NAHB said it expects construction sector net hiring to continue in 2018 as the single-family construction market expands. Anticipated storm repair activity in the mid-Atlantic will also increase demand for residential construction workers, while temporarily reducing demand for new builds due to delays.

But as labor remains a top cited challenge to expansion, builders will increasingly explore options to find ways to build more with less, the NAHB said.