- Construction filled more hard hats in October, as the total job openings dropped by 52,000 from a month earlier to 371,000, or 21,000 fewer vacancies than in October 2021, according to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data by Associated Builders and Contractors.
- Meanwhile, the number of workers who quit their job across all sectors fell to its lowest point since May 2021, as the U.S. economy prepares for a likely recession next year, ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu said in the release.
- “Since many construction segments lag behind the performance of the broader economy by several months, it is conceivable that construction industry job openings will remain elevated for a time even as the U.S. economy weakens,” Basu said. The average contractor intends to raise staffing levels over the next six months, according to the contractor employer group’s most recent Construction Confidence Index survey.
The new job market numbers appeared to make Basu cautiously optimistic.
“Today's job openings data show that the U.S. labor market still offers abundant opportunity for jobseekers,” he said. “Despite a decline in the number of industry job openings, 4.6% of all construction positions are still unfilled, more than at any point from the start of the data series in 2000 to the end of 2018.”
Both the job openings rate and the quits rate have steadily trended upward over the last 10 years.
As construction faces continued high demand for skilled workers, recent BLS data indicates the share of women in construction has reached its highest ever. As of August, women made up 14% of construction workers. That is the highest since the previous record in October 2009, when 13.5% of construction workers were women.
The trend exemplifies the industry’s attempts to deepen the pool of available labor. Desperate for new talent, recruiters have turned to underrepresented groups — such as women — to fill positions.