May Job Openings: Construction Strength and Regional Division

The Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey estimates that the number of US Job openings fell to a seasonally adjusted 9.8 million in May, a 5% decline from April. While the US job market as a whole may seem to be cooling off after a stronger than expected April, the construction labor market continues to display strength with another positive month of job postings. The sector increased openings by 19,000 in May, bringing total construction openings to 366,000. In fact, the construction category was one of only six in the private sector that saw positive movement in openings from April to May.

One interesting point to highlight in the report is just how divided the US labor market is regionally. The southern region has consistently posted nearly double the openings of any other region in the US at around 4 million total openings for all sectors, while the Northeast lags behind with an average of only 1.5 million from February to May of this year. This goes to show that though some regions and sectors of the US economy may feel recessionary, the US will continue to avoid a recession in 2023 as strength in others persists.

The construction industry will still be feeling the heat this summer even though openings and job growth for the sector continue to climb. Because labor remains in short supply, construction wages and the threat of project delays are also on the rise.

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