- Construction job openings rose in November to 459,000, a 10.3% increase from the month prior, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Tuesday.
- The BLS data measures the number of positions for which employers are actively hiring, and when November ended, 5.4% of jobs had gone unfilled. The month closed with 32% more open jobs than in November 2022.
- “The number of open, unfilled construction positions increased to the highest level since the end of 2022,” said Anirban Basu, chief economist for Associated Builders and Contractors. “November’s 5.4% job opening rate is higher than at any point from the start of the data series in 2000 to the end of 2021. Contractors continue to grapple with skilled labor shortages even as the demand for and supply of labor in the broader economy rebalances.”
Federal funding for major infrastructure and manufacturing projects is flowing, leading to a boom in those critical sectors. Nonetheless, as money rolls in for those projects, it only highlights the ongoing labor shortage and creates more challenges to staffing, said Justin Bruce, executive vice president of Bruce & Merrilees, a New Castle, Pennsylvania-based project management and engineering firm for electrical and communication installations.
“[IIJA and CHIPS are] saying, ‘Here's this money, let's go build these facilities or reinvest in these facilities,’ and that creates the demand for the workers,’” Bruce told Construction Dive at a trade event in December.
Basu echoed that sentiment in his analysis, pointing out that some industrial projects in regions experiencing shortages have had to pause work due to an inability to staff jobs with skilled workers.
“As construction spending in manufacturing and infrastructure subsectors continues to surge in the coming months, labor shortages should remain a top concern for the construction industry,” he said.