Construction job openings rose to a rate of 2.7% in January, the highest level seen since the pre-crisis peak in February 2007, according to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Thursday morning.
January's figures show a 90 basis-point (bp) leap from December's revised rate of 1.8% and are 60 bps stronger year-over-year. The rate of construction job openings was 2.1% in January 2015.
Construction job openings were at their highest in February 2007, at a rate of 3.5%. In April 2009, job openings in construction dipped to the lowest point since 2005, at a seasonally adjusted rate of 0.3%, but have shown signs of picking up. The lack of qualified labor (especially that of highly skilled laborers) has put pressure on builders for several years, and continues to be a cause of delayed home deliveries.
For the second consecutive month, hires and total separations in the construction industry slightly decreased. However, the rate of hires still remains above the rate of total separations, indicating a slow but steady influx of workers to the construction labor force. Construction hires decreased 40 bps to 4.5% in January, while total separations (including quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations) decreased 30 bps to 4.0%.