Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Gives Mixed Messages in February

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Gives Mixed Messages in February

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (or JOLTS) indicates the number of monthly job openings, workers hired, and workers who quit, were laid off, or experienced other separations. Our new monthly JOLTS analysis will focus on job openings exclusively within the construction industry as compared to the general US economy.

Job openings for the broader economy slowed down in February according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, in construction, they rebounded after a very weak January to 412,000 (seasonally adjusted) as compared to 283,000 (seasonally adjusted) the previous month. Though these numbers seem to indicate a dramatic rebound in the industry from the lows of January, it is still a mixed bag; hires and quits experienced a slight decrease while layoffs saw a small increase in February.

The strong demand for labor in the industry provides an optimistic view that the sector has thus far managed the economic “speedbumps”. The question is, though, will total construction starts be able to sustain its momentum into 2023 as economic and banking woes mount, while construction labor supply remains terribly scarce? That still remains to be seen.  Infrastructure and manufacturing still look great; however, the outlook for other sectors has weakened.

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