Despite speculation that the Federal Reserve may end its rate tightening during its June meeting, the count of open, unfilled jobs in April complicates the picture. Open, unfilled jobs for the overall economy increased to 10.1 million, which increases the chance of another rate hike during the Federal Reserve’s June meeting, according to the NAHB.

The count of total job openings will fall in 2023 as the labor market softens and the unemployment rises, but the recent uptick complicates the inflation story. From a monetary policy perspective, ideally the count of open, unfilled positions slows to the 8 million range in the coming quarters as the Fed’s actions cool inflation.

While higher interest rates are having an impact on the demand-side of the economy, the ultimate solution for the labor shortage will not be found by slowing worker demand, but by recruiting, training and retaining skilled workers.

The construction labor market saw an increase for job openings in April, although we expect the broader lower trend to continue. The count of open construction jobs increased from a revised reading of 315,000 in March to 383,000 in April. These data points come after a data series high of 488,000 in December 2022. The overall trend is one of cooling for open construction sector jobs as the housing market slows and backlog is reduced, with a notable uptick in month-to-month volatility since late last year.

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