The number of open, unfilled construction sector jobs increased 51% from 95,000 in December of 2012 to 143,000 in December of 2013, according to the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). The count of open jobs in the sector is the highest since May 2008.

While the recent increase in unfilled positions is consistent with the increase in construction sector activity, particularly for home building, the data continue to reflect only modest growth in total employment. The rise in the count of open positions thus matches reports of local labor shortages.

For the construction sector, monthly gross hiring fell back, declining on a seasonally adjusted basis from 293,000 to 269,000 from November to December. Over the same period, the hiring rate, as measured on a 3-month moving average basis, fell from 5.2% to 5.0%. The pace of construction hiring slowed during 2013 compared to 2012 levels.

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