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Number of Open Construction Jobs Declines in November

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics wasn't very optimistic when estimating October 2018's construction unemployment rates, which surprised economists with the highest number of open construction jobs in the 18-year history of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). However, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported, such high numbers weren't sustainable the following month when the number of construction job openings dropped half a percent.

On Jan. 8, NAHB published its analysis of the bureau's latest survey, concluding 278,000 jobs were open in the sector in November, with an open position rate at 3.7%. Although the drop is noticeable when compared to the 323,000 jobs in October, all news wasn't bad as the open position rate improved over November 2017's 3.1%.

Associated Builders and Contractors' (ABC) separate analysis of the survey states November's estimated calculations showed a year-over-year (YOY) decline in November construction unemployment rates in 44 states, most notably Utah, Delaware, Vermont, Georgia and Oklahoma. The ABC analysis was completed by Markstein Advisors' president and chief economist, Bernard Markstein, Ph.D.

"Even as much of the nation moved into its annual cold weather slowdown, employment of construction workers continued to be fairly strong," Markstein said in the ABC report. "Unemployment rates were lower compared to a year ago in 44 states, higher in five states and unchanged in one, Idaho. The country and 32 states posted their lowest November construction unemployment rates on record."

Meanwhile, the number of layoffs continued its decline to 2.2%, NAHB noted.

—Andrew Michaels, editorial associate

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Tuesday, 18 June 2019