The latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that there were 309,000 job openings in the construction industry in January—the highest such January numbers since the year 2000.
New hires in January were over 361,000, a number that is off by around 9.5% over a year ago.
The BLS’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, combining residential with nonresidential construction, also indicate a decrease in hiring, although employment in the residential sector has for the most part been generally more robust in recent months.
According to the BLS, residential construction employment saw a 1.1% increase in January of this year over January of the preceding year; while nonresidential employment in that same time period was off by a significant 5.3%.
The number of job openings in all industries, meanwhile, stood at 6.9 million, says the BLS survey, as of the end of January.
“Job openings decreased in a number of industries over the year,” notes a release from BLS, noting that the largest decreases were in accommodation and food services, state and local government, and the entertainment industry.
Keeping track of the number of new hires, along with those separated from their jobs, the BLS notes that from January 2020 to January of this year, “hires totaled 72.4 million and separations totaled 82.2 million, yielding a net employment loss of 8.8 million.”
The number of people voluntarily leaving their jobs in 2020 actually decreased last year by some 5.8 million, the first such decrease in this category in the last 11 years.
According to a separate report recently issued by the Congressional Research Service, the unemployment rate topped out at 14.8% in April of last year, the highest level recorded in more than 70 years.
Although the unemployment rate in such industries as leisure and hospitality and both wholesale and retail trade have moved consistently downward since the pandemic outbreak, the construction industry saw a jobless rate of around 20% last spring, gradually declining to less than half that number by the end of the year.
By Garry Boulard
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