The construction industry registered 388,000 job openings in November, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. JOLTS defines a job opening as any unfilled position for which an employer is actively recruiting. Industry job openings declined by 2,000 last month but are up 22,000 from the same time last year.
“Once again, good news is bad news,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “The economywide number of job openings remained elevated at approximately 10.5 million in November, virtually unchanged from October’s revised estimate. That’s the key takeaway in a still-red-hot labor market, as many employers continue to aim for expanded capacity to satisfy unmet demand. That is the good news.
“The bad news is obvious,” said Basu. “Despite raising interest rates during the last 10 months, the Federal Reserve is still grappling with an excessively tight labor market associated with rapid compensation cost increases. To return inflation to its 2% target, the Federal Reserve needs a looser labor market with fewer job openings, higher unemployment and slower compensation growth. The implication is that interest rates will continue to rise, adding to construction project financing costs and potentially setting the stage for sharp declines in activity in many privately financed construction segments.”