Eye on Housing

The February release (December 2011 data) of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) confirms a prediction we made earlier in the year. 2011 was the first year for the construction sector for which total hires exceeded total job separations since 2006.

For the overall economy, total hiring for December 2011 was relatively flat at approximately 4 million jobs. Total job openings increased to 3.4 million positions,up more than 5% since December 2010 and 38% since December 2009.

The job openings rate continues to grow and now stands at 2.5%, the highest rate since the Fall of 2008. The growth in open positions bodes well for future employment growth in 2012. However, two challenges stand out. First, there may be mismatches between the skills needed by employers and those available. Second, disruptions in the housing market, including the ability of homeowners to sell their…

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