WASHINGTON, D.C. — The construction industry had 375,000 job openings in July, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). JOLTS defines a job opening as any unfilled position for which an employer is actively recruiting. Industry job openings increased by 22,000 last month and are up 38,000 from the same time last year.

Construction workers quit their jobs at a faster rate than they were laid off or discharged for the 17th consecutive month in July.

"Though we may have collectively experienced peak inflation, it is poised to remain unusually elevated for months to come," said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. "Many factors will keep prices high, including energy crises in Europe and China as well as a dearth of available skilled workers. Today’s JOLTS release is receiving considerable attention because many hoped that job openings would decrease for the second consecutive month in July."

That decrease did not come to pass, though economywide job openings bounced back in July and remain more than 60% above pre-pandemic levels. According to ABC’s Construction Confidence Index, contractors who expect to increase their staffing levels over the next half year remains elevated but has declined in recent months, said Basu.

The labor issues will continue to cause more than job delays or overworked crews. Basu says as long as the supply of labor remains inadequate to meet the demand for workers, the industry will continue to experience upward wage pressures as well. The situation for the privately-funded construction sector will likely only become worse before it gets better.

"According to the most recent Construction Confidence Index, just 31% of contractors expect their profit margins to grow over the next six months," he said.