In March, the NSA unemployment rate in the construction industry fell to 5.2%. At the same time, the month of April saw a net increase of 33,000 new construction jobs. April experienced the lowest unemployment rates since at least 2000. These record numbers demonstrate the health of the economy and the construction industry. Yet, it also has serious implications for hiring. There are numerous unfilled positions, so attracting talent is more critical than ever.
The Growth Is Nationwide
Forty-nine of the fifty states experienced decreases in the construction unemployment rates over the past two months. The only exception was Nebraska, who saw their unemployment rise by .2%. In most of the country, jobs are being created and unemployment is going down. The five states that had the lowest NSA construction rates were Utah, Nevada, South Dakota, Florida, and Colorado. Utah, notably, had the lowest rate at 1.9%. The five states with the highest unemployment were Alaska, Missouri, Kentucky, Connecticut, and Illinois. Alaska had the highest unemployment by far at 13.5%.
Low Unemployment Means Hiring Is More Important than Ever
The economy has been growing ten years straight. While this is generally a good thing, it does come with drawbacks. The biggest issue is that there are many jobs, but not enough job seekers who have the skills required to fill those jobs. Low unemployment often means it takes longer to hire new employees. Some companies are finding it takes 40% longer to hire. To counteract this, you have to be constantly interviewing candidates and working on recruitment.
With low unemployment, job seekers have the luxury of being pickier when making career decisions. Candidates are going to get multiple job offers so they will end up accepting the best offer. They’re looking for who provides the best stability, growth opportunities, compensation, and benefits; and they’re looking for a company that has a culture that aligns with their values.
A Recruiter’s Perspective
Working with a construction recruiting firm will allow you to better understand the current market and provide you with more insight into what candidates are looking for in terms of construction salaries and culture. The most valuable recruiters for you are the few that can work to fully understand what your company has to offer. Then take your story to only the candidates who have already demonstrated a track record of success in the role you’re looking to hire them for. These are your competitors’ top people. The ones who aren’t on the market because their companies are treating them well.
We have found that much better positions could be right next door to these candidates, but they’ll never know about it, because they are not spending their weekends on job boards or asking subs if they know of companies that are looking. The best recruiters are the ones who are able to target the most qualified candidates, reach out to them and build rapport. That connection allows the candidate to feel comfortable sharing information on the type of role that would be better for them. If there is a match, a great recruiter then will be able to show the candidate how a career with your company can get them there.
The record low unemployment rates we are experiencing reflect the promise of the construction industry. The economy is healthier than it has been in years and there is a high demand for construction projects. Yet, this also means hiring will become increasingly more difficult. Making hiring your top priority, working with a recruiter, targeting passive candidates, and staying competitive with construction salaries and benefits will all help.
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