The number of job openings in the construction industry rose to 214,000 in July, though the number is still lower than the cycle high of 215,000 set in March, according to the JOLTS release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Wednesday morning. NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz comments that the increasing rate of "open construction jobs has been increasing since the end of the Great Recession. This is consistent with survey data indicating that access to labor remains a top business challenge for builders."

While the number of open construction jobs has been on the rise, so has the hiring rate. Dietz says that the "construction sector hiring rate, as measured on a twelve-month moving average basis, ticked up to 4.9% in July." Employment data for August also indicates that hiring continued to rebound.

Residential construction employment now stands at 2.597 million, broken down as 726,000 builders and 1.871 million residential specialty trade contractors.

Over the last 12 months home builders and remodelers have, nonetheless, added 132,000 jobs on a net basis. Since the low point of industry employment following the Great Recession, residential construction has gained 611,000 positions.

In July, the unemployment rate for construction workers stood at 5.9% on a seasonally adjusted basis. The unemployment rate for the construction occupation had been on a general decline since reaching a peak rate of 22% in February 2010.

Read Dietz's full take at Eye on Housing, and see the full JOLTS release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics here >>