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Labor-Shortage Headwinds Continue for Construction

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Labor + Trade Relations

Labor-Shortage Headwinds Continue for Construction

Jobs report shows construction still faces a wide margin between available positions and the supply of workers to fill them


December 7, 2023
Construction worker standing by work truck with framed house in the background
Image: Tomasz Zajda / stock.adobe.com

Across all industries, job openings dropped by around 6% from September, but unlike other economic segments, the shortage of labor in construction continues to be an urgent issue, according to recent analysis of data from the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey by the Associated Builders and Contractors. 

“The number of economywide job openings fell to 8.7 million in October, the lowest total since March 2021,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “This is a strong indication that the demand for labor is slowing, although the supply of workers is still far too low to meet that demand. The number of open, unfilled jobs across the economy still exceeds the pre-pandemic level by more than 1.7 million.

“While labor market tightness is easing across all economic segments, worker scarcity remains a pressing issue for the construction industry,” said Basu. “On the last day of October, 5.0% of construction positions were unfilled, which is well above the 3.9% industry job opening rate observed in February 2020. With nearly half of contractors intending to increase their staffing levels over the next six months, according to ABC’s Construction Confidence Index, the lack of available workers will remain a headwind for the construction industry over the next several quarters.”  

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