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HomeNewsMarch construction job openings show volatility, decreasing by 182,000, says ABC

March construction job openings show volatility, decreasing by 182,000, says ABC

WASHINGTON, May 1—The construction industry had 274,000 job openings on the last day of March, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. JOLTS defines a job opening as any unfilled position for which an employer is actively recruiting. Industry job openings decreased by 182,000 last month and are down by 17,000 from the same time last year.

“Construction job openings plunged in March, falling to the lowest level since October 2020,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “While there are many headwinds facing the industry, including the prospect of higher-for-longer interest rates, this dismal number likely reflects a statistical aberration rather than a legitimate decline in demand. We know that the construction industry added jobs at a rapid pace in March, and both backlog and contractor confidence improved for the month, according to ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator and Construction Confidence Index, respectively.

“We have seen this kind of volatility in the JOLTS data before; construction job openings also plunged last March,” said Basu. “Which is to say, on a year-over-year basis, openings are only down modestly. The sizable decline in openings observed in March 2023 and 2024 may reflect seasonal hiring patterns that are not reflected in the BLS’s seasonal adjustment factors. Accordingly, these data should not be viewed as a sign of an industry slowdown, at least not without another month or two of data to corroborate it.”

Visit abc.org/economics for the Construction Backlog Indicator and Construction Confidence Index, plus analysis of spending, employment, job openings and the Producer Price Index.

Associated Builders and Contractors is a national construction industry trade association established in 1950 that represents more than 23,000 members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 68 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. Visit us at abc.org.    

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