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News Dec. 6, 2023

Construction job openings fell in October, but worker shortages continue

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey shows the construction industry registered 423,000 job openings in October, which is down by 4,000 from September but up by 25,000 from October 2022, according to Associated Builders and Contractors. The survey defines a job opening as any unfilled position for which an employer is actively recruiting.

Construction workers quit at a faster rate than they were laid off; the quit rate in October was 2.2%, and the layoff/discharge rate was 2%.

“The number of economywide job openings fell to 8.7 million in October, the lowest total since March 2021,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “This is a strong indication that the demand for labor is slowing, although the supply of workers is still far too low to meet that demand. The number of open, unfilled jobs across the economy still exceeds the pre-pandemic level by more than 1.7 million.

“While labor market tightness is easing across all economic segments, worker scarcity remains a pressing issue for the construction industry,” Basu continued. “On the last day of October, 5% of construction positions were unfilled, which is well above the 3.9% industry job opening rate observed in February 2020. With nearly half of contractors intending to increase their staffing levels over the next six months, according to ABC’s Construction Confidence Index, the lack of available workers will remain a headwind for the construction industry over the next several quarters.”

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