WASHINGTON – Estimated May construction unemployment rates fell in Wisconsin and 44 other states on a year-over-year basis, rose in four states and were unchanged in one state, according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors.

The May 2018 not seasonally adjusted (NSA) national construction unemployment rate fell 0.9 percent from May 2017 to 4.4 percent, the lowest May rate on record. At the same time, the construction industry employed 291,000 more workers nationally than in May 2017.

In Wisconsin, the NSA construction unemployment rate for May dropped to 2.9 percent, a decline of 1.2 percent from May 2017, also making it the state’s lowest rate for the month of May dating back to 2004. Wisconsin was ranked 12th for the lowest estimated NSA construction unemployment rate nationwide in May.

“May proved to be an excellent month for construction employment, despite the ongoing shortage of skilled construction workers,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “In addition, contractors are contending with a rise in building materials prices and the likelihood of further increases due to proposed tariffs on many inputs into construction.”

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 May 2017, the national NSA construction unemployment rate from April to May has declined every year but one (May 2009). The rate for May 2018 was down as well, decreasing 2.1 percent from April. Among the estimated state construction unemployment rates, all were down except for one, Wyoming, which was up 0.9 percent from April.