Construction job openings dropped modestly to a seasonally adjusted rate of 2.9% in April after reaching a 9-year-high a month prior, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Wednesday morning.

April's numbers are a 20 basis point decrease compared to the upwardly-revised 3.1% reported in March but are still 30 basis points up year-over-year. After years of ticking up, current construction job openings have recovered to a level last seen in early 2007.

Construction hiring has cooled, but is still in line with the trend seen in recent years, as the seasonally adjusted annual rate of hires dropped 10 basis points to 5.1%. Hires were most active in April 2005 with a rate of 7.4%, before dropping to the lowest rate of 4.2% as of February 2007.

The rate of total separations--including quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations--closed the month with a seasonally adjusted 5.1%, up 10 basis points from March and up 40 basis points from last April. Construction separations once reached a high point of 7.3% in March 2010 before trending down in the past a few years, but have shown signs of picking up again since the beginning of this year.

After narrowing for several months, the gap between total construction hires and total separations closed up this month from last month's 0.3%, suggesting a slowdown in April's employment add-on. In this month, a modest 2,000 people were added to the construction workforce.

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