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Construction Jobs Dip Slightly

Construction jobs have slightly dropped in February, according to a report from the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) in the Associations Eye on Housing blog. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, NAHB found that after two months of lower level open positions, unfilled jobs in the construction sector increased slightly in February.

The number of open construction sector jobs rose to 169,000 in February, still below the cycle high of 238,000 set in July 2016. Additionally, the open position rate, or job openings as a percent of total employment, increased to 2.4 percent. The open position rate on a moving twelve-month average basis stayed near the cycle high at around 2.7 percent.

The NAHB reports that overall, the number of open construction jobs have been increasing since the end of the Great Recession. Despite this, the NAHB notes that recent increases in hiring have decreased the level of unfilled construction jobs. December 2016 and January 2017 marked the strongest two months since 2014.

On a twelve-month moving average basis, the construction sector hiring rate stayed at 5.1 percent in February. Quits reached a cycle high at 2.4 percent, and layoffs stayed at 2.6 percent.

Additional data shows that overall employment growth in the construction sector was negative in March, as home builders and remodelers lost 7,600 positions. Despite strong growth in November through February, NAHB reports that this is the first monthly decline in 9 months. Currently, residential construction holds 2.693 million positions, which the NAHB defines as 768,000 builders and 1.93 million residential specialty trade contractors.

Although recently the industry has seen drops, during the last 12 months, home builders and remodelers have seen an overall net growth of 113,000 jobs. The NAHB reports that 710,200 jobs have been added since the low point of the recession. The current unemployment rate for homebuilders is 6.9 percent, well below the February 2010 peak of 22 percent.

About Author: Seth Welborn

Seth Welborn is a contributing writer for DS News. He is a Harding University graduate with a degree in English and a minor in writing, and has studied abroad in Athens, Greece. An East Texas native, he also works part-time as a photographer.
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