Construction job openings increased in October after trending down for three consecutive months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) release this morning.

There were 126,000 job openings in the construction sector in October, increasing the open rate to 1.9%, a 10 bps difference from September's revised open rate of 1.8%.  

Hiring also increased 10 bps in October to a rate of 5.0%. Compared to September, approximately 5,000 more workers were hired in October, with a total of 322,000 new hires. The most significant change in the October release is the decrease in total separations within the construction sector, which dropped to a rate of 4.5%, compared to the September rate of 4.9%, and a rate of 4.9% in October 2014.

Labor concerns continue to plague builders across the country (land and labor were the biggest challenges for builders in 2015, according to responses from our Builder 100 survey), but employment data indicate that builders are in a much better spot this October than they were in October 2014. Monthly employment gain (hires minus total separations) during October 2015 vs. October 2014 accounts for 73.68% increase year-over-year. 

Although job openings declined during August, September, and October, net employment in the construction industry has been rising since July, as the hires rate has remained above the rate of total separations. October's decrease in total separations results in a significant monthly gain of roughly 33,000 jobs, compared to November, when approximately 6,000 jobs were gained. 

October's data is more promising for the construction industry than for the economy as a whole, with the job openings rate down 10 bps from September to 3.6%, and the rate of hires and total separations remaining flat from September at 3.6% and 3.4%, respectively. 

Read the full JOLTS release here >>