BUT ONLY BECAUSE EMPLOYERS ARE HOARDING WORKERS
You’ve heard how hard it is to keep construction workers on the job — that the shortage of workers means people move from job to job at high rates, frequently able to find a better job at a competitor. And that’s not accounting for the workers who choose to leave the industry entirely if the right opportunity arises.
Survey data confirms this story of high rates of voluntary departure. A “quits rate” measure in the construction industry by the U.S. Department of Labor shows the percentage of all workers who voluntarily leave a job in a given month for reasons other than retirement. In the six years running up to the Great Recession, that rate averaged 2.4 percent per month – so 2.4 percent of all construction workers voluntarily quit their job each month, on average, between November 2001 and October 2007. When the Great Recession took hold, that rate fell substantially because alternative employment was hard to come by, and from late 2007 until the end of 2019, monthly quits averaged only 1.8 percent.