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AGC Economist Likes What He Sees in Construction Job Openings

Feb. 9, 2023

Total construction spending decreased by -0.4% in December, yet industry job openings at the end of the month set a new high for December, according to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Association officials said the jobs data signals that the slowdown in construction spending may have been more about changes in weather than demand.

“The record number of job openings in construction compared to previous Decembers suggests contractors are bullish about their backlogs despite a dip in spending in December,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, in the press release. “Some of the downturn may be due to unusually bad weather rather than a shrinking market.”

A government report showed there were 359,000 job openings in construction at the end of the year (including an estimated 46,670 electrical contractor employees), a jump of 58,000 or +19% from a year earlier and the highest December total in the 23-year history of the data. Openings exceeded the 217,000 workers hired during the entire month, which suggests contractors wanted to bring on board more than twice as many employees as they were able to find, Simonson added.