WASHINGTON, D.C. – Estimated November construction unemployment rates fell nationally and in 44 states – including Wisconsin – 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.

While the November 2018 not seasonally adjusted (NSA) national construction unemployment rate fell 1.1 percent from a year ago to 3.9 percent, the construction industry employed 277,000 more workers nationally compared to November 2017, according to BLS statistics.

In Wisconsin, the NSA construction unemployment rate for November was 4.8 percent, a decline of 1.1 percent from November 2017’s rate of 5.9 percent. Wisconsin's year-over-year change ranks 35th nationwide in November.  This compares with the lowest rate of 2.2 percent (Utah) and the highest of 14.4 percent (Alaska), but on par with the U.S. as a whole. 

“Even as much of the nation moved into its annual cold weather slowdown, employment of construction workers continued to be fairly strong,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “Unemployment rates were lower compared to a year ago in 44 states, higher in five states and unchanged in one, Idaho. The country and 32 states posted their lowest November construction unemployment rates on record. Further, this is the first November on record when all state unemployment rates except for Alaska’s were below seven 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.

The national NSA construction unemployment rate from October to November rose 0.3 percent. Thirty-four states posted higher estimated construction unemployment rates, including Wisconsin; 15 states were down from October and one, Arkansas, was unchanged.

BLS NSA Construction Unemployment Rates