January construction job openings reached a new high while hiring rates actually dipped. Job openings increased by 4% in January, but hiring rates in the construction sector dropped down to a 4.9% rate, according to the National Association of Home Builders. To put it into perspective, May experienced the peak rate of hiring at 10.3%. There remained layoffs, with the layoff rate reaching 2.7% in January. There are currently 309,000 open positions in the construction sector, which is higher than one year ago and the highest number since fall 2019.
Looking forward, the construction job openings rate is likely to experience choppiness in the months ahead given divergent outlooks within the construction industry. Home building and remodeling were relative bright spots for the overall economy in 2020, while nonresidential construction is experiencing greater headwinds. Nonetheless, attracting skilled labor will remain a key objective for residential and nonresidential construction firms in the coming quarters, as evidenced by the rise in open construction sector jobs in January 2021.