The number of unfilled jobs in the construction sector rose to 250,000 in January 2018, according to a NAHB analysis of the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), up from 159,000 unfilled jobs in January 2017. This number stops just short of the post-recession high of 255,000 unfilled construction sector job openings set in July of last year.

The open position rate in the construction sector, or job openings as a percentage of total employment, rose to 3.4% in January. On a smoothed twelve-month moving average basis, the open position rate rose to 2.9%, a post-recession high. The construction hiring rate fell to 5.2% at the same time. The twelve-month moving average for layoffs fell to 2.6%, and the quits rate rose to 2.4%.

NAHB expects construction sector net hiring to continue in 2018 as the single-family construction market expands. However, as labor remains a top cited challenge to expansion, builders will increasingly explore options to find ways to build more with less.

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