- Hundreds of thousands of hard hats went unfilled as 2022 came to a close. The construction industry had 413,000 job openings in December, according to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data from Associated Builders and Contractors.
- The BLS data measures the number of jobs for which employers are actively recruiting. December counted 82,000 more open roles than in November, and 54,000 more than December 2021.
- “The 5% of industrywide positions that were unfilled in December is the third highest level on record, and higher than at any point since 2000 — when the data series began — until October 2021,” Anirban Basu, ABC chief economist, said in a release.
The majority of contractors intend to increase staffing levels over the next six months, according to Basu, so “labor shortages will remain a stiff headwind for the industry,” he said.
Consumer spending has begun to show signs of weakness, Basu said, but the demand for labor remains high. In the broader economy, job openings remained about 57% above pre-pandemic levels.
“The implication here is that contractors, who have been facing labor shortages for several years, must now compete with other industries for workers,” Basu said.
As contractors have increased wages in an attempt to keep up with inflation, it hasn’t always been enough. Indeed, workers want more now from a job in construction, including stability, benefits and a culture that can nurture a long-term career. Otherwise, they can turn to one of the other industries with high demand for new blood.
“Employees are expecting a competitive and well-rounded employee value proposition that supports them at every stage of their career,” Alison Tripp, national recruiting leader for Redwood, California-based commercial general contractor DPR, recently told Construction Dive.