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After an accelerated pace of layoffs in March and April stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, construction sector hiring roared back in May and posted a slower but solid pace in June, according to the latest data from the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS).

The construction sector hired 679,000 workers in May, followed by 498,000 in June. By comparison, 423,000 construction workers were hired in June 2019.

In May, the construction hiring rate [the number of hires (679,000) divided by total employment and sector job openings] increased to 9.7%, after a subdued 3.7% rate in April. This was the strongest rate of hiring in the history of the JOLTS data. In June, the rate was 6.9%, slower than May but still well above average.

This pace of rehiring, combined with weakness in the nonresidential sector, reduced the open jobs rate to just 3.3% in June, with a  total of 245,000 open construction sector jobs. The open job count was 325,000 a year ago. However, builders continue to cite limited access to skilled construction workers as a concern as they seek workers to undertake more home construction and remodeling.

NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz provides more details in this Eye on Housing blog post.