- The number of open jobs in construction dropped by 73,000 to 341,000 in March, the second lowest since mid-2021, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors’ analysis of new Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The openings represent jobs for which employers are actively recruiting.
- That constituted a 17% drop compared to March 2022. The number of open jobs has been on a rollercoaster ride this year — half of the open positions vanished in January, then a large number returned in February before the dip last month.
- The data indicates “a significant decline in open positions in the construction industry,” said Anirban Basu, ABC’s chief economist. “The 3.7% of construction workers who were laid off or discharged in March is the highest rate since the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Weakness in the single-family homebuilding sector likely accounted for much of the decrease in job openings, Basu said.
Meanwhile, the fact that only about 10% of ABC’s mostly nonresidential members expect staffing levels to decrease over the next six months indicates a positive outlook in the sector for nonhousing-related construction.
“With interest rates elevated and set to rise again at the Federal Reserve’s May meeting, these dynamics should remain firmly in place over the next few months,” Basu said.
At the same time, nonresidential construction spending continues to increase, though that is largely anchored by the manufacturing sector.
A boom in manufacturing projects, spurred by the pivot to onshoring during the pandemic, is benefiting construction and cushioning the blow from other softening markets, according to Stephen Sandherr, CEO of Associated General Contractors of America.