WASHINGTON – For the second time this year, estimated July construction unemployment rates fell in every state and nationally on a year-over-year basis, according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors.
The July 2018 not seasonally adjusted (NSA) national construction unemployment rate fell 1.5 percent to 3.4 percent from July 2017. At the same time, the construction industry employed 303,000 more workers nationally compared to July 2017, according to BLS statistics.
In Wisconsin, the NSA construction unemployment rate for July dropped to 3.4 percent, a decline of 1.2 percent from July 2017. Wisconsin was tied with California and Nebraska for the 27th lowest estimated NSA construction unemployment rate nationwide in July.
“Low July construction unemployment rates across the nation are the result of healthy construction activity, reflecting a tight construction labor market,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “A number of records were set this month. For the third time since January 2000, when the ABC state estimates begin, all 50 state construction unemployment rates fell on a year-over-year basis. The other two times were within the past eight months, in December 2017 and January 2018. Further, this is only the fourth time that the national construction NSA unemployment rate has fallen below the overall national NSA unemployment rate.”
The United States and more than half of the states (27) posted their lowest July construction unemployment rate on record. It is also the first time since August 2017 that all 50 states had a construction unemployment rate under 10 percent.
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 July 2017, the national NSA construction unemployment rate from June to July has declined 13 times, rose three times and was unchanged twice. The rate for July 2018 added to the decrease count, down 1.3 percent. Among the estimated state construction unemployment rates, 44 were down, five were up and one, Wisconsin, was unchanged from June.
Meanwhile, private NSA construction employment rose in 39 states from June. Construction unemployment was unchanged in two states—Rhode Island and Tennessee—and decreased in nine states. Nationally, NSA private construction employment increased 19,000 from June.