- Construction job openings leapt to 431,000 on the last day of September, a 15% increase from the month before, according to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Wednesday. The hiring rate dropped almost a full percentage point, the largest noteworthy dip since summer began.
- Year-over-year, however, openings dropped 7.5% from September 2022, the largest gap of unfilled positions since December, the report said.
- The surge in available positions in construction “mirrors an increase in economywide job openings which, at 9.6 million, remains about 37% higher than at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Anirban Basu, chief economist for Associated Builders and Contractors, said in a release.
The rate at which American workers quit has remained steady over the last several months, but in a bright spot for construction, the number of workers in the industry who voluntarily leave their jobs has decreased over the past few months — from a rate of 2.4% (180,000 workers) in June to 1.8% (143,000 workers) in September.
“While that’s a welcome development, labor shortages remain a pressing issue for the industry,” Basu said.
Contractors laid off fewer workers in September when compared to August or the year before. With many companies intending to continue to increase their staffing, according to a recent ABC survey of its members, “labor shortages will remain a pressing issue heading into 2024,” wrote Basu.
Many U.S. contractors also struggle with retaining workers. A survey from Yoh, an international talent and outsourcing company, found that one in seven workers plans to leave their job in the next year, most likely for improved benefits or salary.
Employers with highly favorable reviews from their employees in the industry suggested “sweat the small stuff,” and know the ills of the jobsite. By carefully promoting and developing workers’ career paths and raising awareness for the harder parts of the workday, contractors can better invest in culture.
“‘Sweating the small stuff’ is caring about all the small moments in people’s lives, both inside and outside of the workplace,” said Suzanne Roeder, chief growth officer at Boston-based contractor Suffolk. “There is no silver bullet or initiative that will make a company a great place to work. Excellent company culture is built on how your manager responds in a challenging situation.”