Construction job openings down, labor scarcity remains

By |  August 29, 2023
Hanson Aggregates - Penns Park Quarry Conveyor, Newtown, Pennsylvania. Photo: Zach Mentz

While construction job openings are up 10,000 jobs compared to a year earlier, the 363,000 openings in July is down 23,000 from June. Photo: P&Q Staff

The construction industry had 363,000 job openings on the last day of July, according to an Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data.

The Bureau’s Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey defines a job opening as any unfilled position for which an employer is actively recruiting.

Industry job openings decreased by 23,000 from June, but are up by 10,000 from the same time last year.

“The demand for labor is beginning to slow,” says Anirban Basu, ABC’s chief economist. “Across all industries, job openings are now at the lowest level since March 2021 and the rate at which workers are quitting their jobs has returned to the pre-pandemic norm. As consumer spending buckles under the weight of inflation and the effects of higher interest rates begin to weaken growth, the labor market should continue to cool.”

Unfortunately, Basu adds, the demand for construction workers remains elevated relative to supply.

“While the number of open, unfilled construction jobs declined in July, 4.4 percent of industrywide positions are currently unfilled – a greater share than one year ago and at the start of the pandemic,” he says. “As a result, contractors remain reluctant to lay off workers. With a majority of contractors expecting to increase their staffing levels over the next six months, according to ABC’s Construction Confidence Index, labor scarcity should remain a headwind through the end of 2023.”

Related: What’s next for pricing of construction materials, equipment

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About the Author:

Jack Kopanski is the Managing Editor of Pit & Quarry and Editor-in-Chief of Portable Plants. Kopanski can be reached at 216-706-3756 or

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