- In an analysis of April Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) data, the National Association of Home Builders found that, while still relatively high, unfilled positions in the construction industry decreased to 200,000 from an upwardly adjusted March figure of 215,000 — which represented a post-recession high.
- The open position rate, or the percentage of job openings compared to total employment, was 2.9% in April and 3% on a three-month moving average.
- NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz said the number of open construction jobs has been on an upward trajectory since the recession, which coincides with a January NAHB survey that found 76% of builders anticipate that filling skilled labor positions would be their greatest challenge in 2016.
The April construction hiring rate was 5.1%, but May employment numbers from the BLS suggest a weakening in residential hiring with a net loss of jobs for the second month in a row — with a 4,400 decline in March and 5,200 dip in April. However, Dietz said that reductions in multifamily starts could be contributing to this decrease in jobs.
According to a recent BLS analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America, the overall construction industry saw 15,000 jobs vanish in May. In addition, the BLS revised April's 1,000-job increase to a 5.000-job loss, and the nonresidential sector shed 10,300 positions. Although the AGC reported that May employment was 3.4% higher year over year, it said the drop in jobs could mean that their oft-predicted labor shortages could be "reaching the point where they undermine the sector’s growth."
Late last month, the AGC also reported that construction employment grew in only 23 states month-over-month between March and April, but, year over year, 42 states and Washington, DC, saw an increase in jobs. The AGC chalked the result up to early spring hiring because of unseasonably good weather but, again, warned that coming worker shortages could constrain future growth.