TACL - Total Available Construction Labor - October 2021


January 2022 Update: The BLS updated their October 2021 and the new TACL got worse. From -100k it was actually -133k, the worst month on record.

Total Available Construction Labor (TACL) October 2021

Road Dog Jobs created the Total Available Construction Labor (TACL) metric as a macro view of labor availability in construction. This is a data driven view of the construction labor market.

TACL compares the unemployed construction workforce against open jobs in construction. Since unemployment rate is not seasonally adjusted, we use employment data that is also not seasonally adjusted.

The result is a macro measure of whether, mathematically, the construction industry workforce has enough people in the workforce to fill open construction jobs.

In October 2021 TACL is a negative 100,000 people. This means there are more open jobs in construction (420,000) than unemployed workers (320,000).

TACL tells us that if all 320,000 unemployed construction workers took one of the open jobs, there would still be 100,000 unfilled construction jobs.

This is the very definition of a construction labor shortage; there aren’t enough people to fill jobs.

We can track this metric going back to December 2000, which represents 251 months of data. The October 2021 TACL metric is the 2nd lowest number ever putting in the lowest 1% of all months. Over the 251 months of data, the average TACL is 535,000.

A negative number has only happened 11 times in 251 months.

Also concerning is the long-term trend in TACL. Going back to the early 2000s in the pre financial crisis era, TACL averaged 489,000 people – and this was through a booming economy.

Industry growth, demographic turnover and difficulty getting new people into the industry at a fast enough rate have all contributed to the problem.

All these numbers lead to the same conclusion; the construction labor market is in an historic shortage.