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Construction Job Openings On the Rise

construction, disaster, rebuildJob openings hit record highs last year and hires are up, but according to at least one expert, today's job report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is a "disappointment."

According to results of the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey released on Friday, job openings reach 6 million in July 2016, the highest point since 2000. Hires also increased last year, rising by 1.1 percent over the course of 2016.

Still, despite these upticks, Fannie Mae's Chief Economist Doug Duncan says the report leaves something to be desired.

"Today's jobs report showed broad-based softening: weakening job gains, sizable downward revisions, a declining average workweek, and a weak rise in average hourly earnings over the month, with annual wage growth stuck at 2.5 percent for the fifth consecutive month," Duncan said. "The household survey also disappointed, as the unemployment rate ticked up amid a flat labor force participation rate."

There's reason to be optimistic, though—particularly in the housing sector.

"These numbers followed strong results for recent months, and the three-month average monthly job gain of 185,000 points to a solid job market," Duncan said. "While we are yet to see any acceleration in nominal wage gains, declining inflation this year is a positive for workers. Following a recent string of lackluster housing data, today's report provides some hope in the form of a strong pickup in residential construction hiring."

According to the report, construction job openings rose by 32 percent last year—up from 144,000 in 2015 to 190,000 in 2016. Hires in the construction industry increased by 0.6 percent over the same period, while separations—which includes quits, firings, layoffs, and discharges—jumped 7.1 percent for the year.

Overall, Duncan says today's report does little to change expectations of another Federal Reserve rate hike.

"We see nothing to stop the Fed from continuing its gradual monetary policy normalization, as we expect it to announce a tapering of its balance sheet during its meeting later this month," Duncan said.

To view the full BLS jobs report, visit BLS.gov.

About Author: Aly J. Yale

Aly J. Yale is a longtime writer and editor from Texas. Her resume boasts positions with The Dallas Morning News, NBC, PBS, and various other regional and national publications. She has also worked with both the Five Star Institute and REO Red Book, as well as various other mortgage industry clients on content strategy, blogging, marketing, and more.
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