Ouch! . . . construction jobs openings plunge nearly 50%. Largest drop ever

It’s bad, but maybe not really really bad.
Bailout and stimulus checks can only kick the can down the road so far.

They don’t make COVID shut downs “cost free”
As is the case with every war, and every crisis, and every bad econoici decision
programs like that never make a war or a crisis “cost free,” the best they can do is make them “pay later.”

Later is now. The credit card bill is due.

The article notes

The number of construction job openings plunged by 240,000, or nearly 50%, to 248,000 in January compared to December, according to government data out Wednesday.

  • It was the largest-ever monthly decline in construction job openings in the data series that stretches back roughly 20 years.
  • Overall job openings, however, dipped only slightly in January, suggesting the overall economy remains strong.

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There are still more opening now than at the bottom of the “housing crisis”
but in terms of construction jobs
the “housing crisis” happened in a slow gentle manner.

This is more like a bubble popping.

Or maybe it’s a combination that includes lots of illegal workers because the Biden admin has imported them.

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That’s good thinking, but I believe this data comes from yesterdays employer survey (JOLTs report.) Employers report hirings, firings, layoffs, job openings etc…
It is possible that the BLS survey misses that, but it would be more likely to show up tomorrow.

Tomorrow we get to see the employees’ claims

  • How many people say they are not working.
  • How many of those say they are still looking.
  • etc.

This may be a tad simplistic but could it be that construction is down because there is a reduced need for business premises with so many people working from home?

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I think that’s a factor. One of many.

But yes, back in 2020 when working from home started to show that it was a very viable model, I suggested that office space vacancies would start to balloon.

Of course, those vacancies, and so many retail and big-box vacancies, could be turned into low-income apartments. (Which would create some demand for construction and trade workers too.)


Hmm, maybe.

  • Construction still employs 968,760 people (Often on a multi-month contract basis.)
  • There are still 248,000 openings for upcoming jobs.
    In both measurements the outlook is still superior to what we saw during the “housing” bubble.

Nonetheless openings (for upcoming jobs) dropped from 488,000 to 248,000 and that is the sharpest drop in measured history.

Whatever caused it, the effect will be the same.

Here in Indy they are focusing on luxury apartments downtown with only limited low income housing but apparently from what I have read the market here supports it. I am skeptical but my cynicism runs deep on most things connected to this city.

How can this be? Wasn’t Build Back Better supposed to increase construction jobs exponentially?