The construction industry had 449,000 job openings on the last day of December, 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 decreased by 21,000 last month and are down by 39,000 from the same time last year.
“The construction industry averaged 445,000 job openings per month in the fourth quarter of 2023,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “That’s the highest quarterly level on record and a strong indication that the labor shortages that have long plagued the construction industry remain firmly in place. With more than half of contractors expecting to increase their staffing levels over the next six months, according to ABC’s Construction Confidence Index, the supply of workers is unlikely to meet demand for the first half of 2024.
“There is, however, some good news regarding worker availability,” said Basu. “While contractors are still laying off workers at a historically low rate, the rate at which construction workers are quitting has fallen below 2019 levels. This is likely a reflection of falling demand for labor in industries that compete with construction for talent, including trade, transportation and utilities, which has seen a 25% decline in job openings over the past year.”