Job openings set record
The construction industry set a new record with 382,000 job openings in construction at the end of December, more than double the year-earlier total of 149,000, and the highest total for any month in the series' 18-year history, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
- (December usually has one of the lowest monthly totals for job openings.) Contractors hired 219,000 employees in December, not seasonally adjusted, up from 177,000 a year earlier.
- Together, the hires and openings figures imply that demand for workers is growing but is becoming harder to satisfy; contractors would theoretically have hired more than twice as many workers as they were able to in December.
- These data are consistent with the AGC of America-Sage Hiring and Business Outlook Survey, released on January 2, in which 79% of respondents reported they expect their firms to add employees in 2019 but 78% reported difficulty filling positions.
- The JOLTS report showed 2.2% of construction employees quit in December, the highest quit rate since 2005, which is consistent with a market in which workers can easily find another job.