WASHINGTON, D.C. – Estimated April construction unemployment rates fell in 19 states on a year-over-year basis, were unchanged in four states and rose in 27 states, according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).

The April 2018 not seasonally adjusted (NSA) national construction unemployment rate rose 0.2 percent from April 2017 to 6.5 percent. At the same time, the construction industry employed 262,000 more workers nationally than in April 2017.

In Wisconsin, the construction unemployment rate for April ticked up slightly to 5.1 percent, a 0.8 percent increase from April 2017. Wisconsin was tied with Georgia for the 14th lowest estimated NSA construction unemployment rate nationwide in April and had the second lowest rate in the East North Central Region, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

“Colder-than-normal temperatures in the eastern half of the country, combined with above-average precipitation in much of the eastern third of the nation, were likely factors in somewhat slower construction activity in April and a slightly elevated national construction unemployment rate compared to a year ago. Nonetheless, demand for construction workers continued to be healthy,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “Employers are still reporting shortages of skilled construction workers, while building materials price increases hang like a cloud over future construction activity.”

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 April 2017, the national NSA construction unemployment rate from March to April has declined every year. The rate for April 2018 was no exception, down 0.9 percent from March. Among the estimated state construction unemployment rates, 39 were down, 10 were up, and one (Virginia) was unchanged from March.