Construction job openings took a further step down to a seasonally adjusted rate of 2.7% in May, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Tuesday morning.

May's numbers are a 10-basis-point decrease compared to the downwardly revised 2.8% reported in April and flat with May 2015. After years of moving up to a nine-year high of 3.1% this March, current construction job openings cooled off a bit but are still at a level last seen in early 2007.

Construction hiring took a hit from April's 5.1% to 4.6% this month, which is 40 basis points lower than a year earlier. 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 at a seasonally adjusted 4.7%, down 60 basis points from April but up 20 basis points from May 2015. Construction separations once reached a high point of 7.3% in March 2010.

The gap between total construction hires and total separations further closed this month to -0.1% from last month's -0.2%, suggesting a shrinkage in May's construction employment. In this month, 10,000 people were shed from the construction workforce.

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