June construction unemployment rate down from prior year in Wisconsin

Estimated June construction unemployment rates fell in 15 states on a year-over-year basis – including Wisconsin – rose in 33 states and were unchanged in two states (Arizona and New Hampshire), according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released by ABC.

The June 2018 not seasonally adjusted (NSA) national construction unemployment rate increased 0.2 percent to 4.7 percent from June 2017. At the same time, the construction industry employed 282,000 more workers nationally than in June 2017.

In Wisconsin, the NSA construction unemployment rate for June dropped to 3.5 percent, a decline of 0.8 percent from June 2017. Wisconsin was tied with Nevada and New Hampshire for the 12th lowest estimated NSA construction unemployment rate nationwide in June.

“Paradoxically, the rise in the June construction unemployment rate nationally and in many states both on a year-over-year basis and from May is a good sign,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “The rise in the construction unemployment rate was a result of discouraged workers re-entering the labor market in search of employment due to excellent prospects for obtaining a job in construction with good pay. The number of reentrants was greater than the market could absorb in a short period even as demand for construction workers remains strong, sending the unemployment rate higher.”

Because these industry-specific rates are not seasonally adjusted, national and state-level unemployment rates are best evaluated on a year-over-year basis. The monthly movement of the rates still provides some information, although extra care must be used in drawing conclusions from these variations.

From the beginning of the data series in January 2000 through June 2017, the national NSA construction unemployment rate from May to June has declined every year but one (June 2010), when it was unchanged.

Nationally, NSA private construction employment increased 13,000 from May while the number of unemployed construction job seekers rose by 51,000, resulting in an increase in the June national construction unemployment rate. This can only be due to previously discouraged construction workers reentering the job market in search of work. This appears to have occurred throughout the country, among the vast majority of states, not concentrated in just a few states.