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Construction Job Openings Hit Post-Recession High

construction-twoUnfilled jobs in the construction sector (on a seasonally adjusted basis) rose to 193,000 in February from a downwardly revised estimate of 157,000 in January.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) analysis, the February data surpassed the cycle high of 177,000 unfilled positions set in May 2015 and is the highest monthly count of job openings since July 2007.

"The overall trend for open construction jobs has been an increasing since the end of the Great Recession," said Robert Dietz, Ph.D., is Chief Economist and SVP for Economics and Housing Policy for NAHB. "This is consistent with survey data indicating that access to labor remains a top business challenge for builders."

JOLTS apr pubAccording to the BLS, the open position rate also reached a cycle high at 2.8 percent in February. On a three-month moving average basis, the open position rate for the construction sector increased to 2.3 percent for February, the NAHB reported.

The hiring rate on a three-month moving average basis decrease to 4.8 percent, while the quits rate for construction rose to 1.5 percent for February, the Bureau found.

Recent employment data for March 2016 shows that total residential construction employment grew by 13,400 in March, the NAHB noted.

Although the pace of hiring for the residential construction industry slowed throughout 2015, the recent uptick now places the six-month average of monthly employment growth at 21,200.

res constr emmployNAHB noted that residential construction employment now stands at 2.598 million, made up of 717,700 builders and 1.88 million residential specialty trade contractors.

"Rising job openings for the overall economy are affecting many business sectors as the unemployment rate has fallen, with employers wanting new workers but holding greater numbers of unfilled positions," Dietz explained. "This could bode well for future hiring, but it might also signal that scarcity for labor is becoming a more general concern."

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