Construction Unemployment In Wisconsin At Near Record Low In February

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Estimated February not seasonally adjusted construction unemployment rates dropped in 46 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.

As the February 2019 national NSA construction unemployment rate fell 1.6% from a year ago to 6.2%, the construction industry employed 222,000 more workers nationally compared to February 2018, according to BLS numbers. In Wisconsin, the NSA construction unemployment rate for February was 5.9%, a drop of 2.1% from February 2018’s rate of 8%. Wisconsin’s rate is the second lowest state rate on record and only a .3% off the record mark in February 2017. Wisconsin also compares favorably to neighboring states, such as Minnesota (10.5%), Michigan (9.3%), Iowa (8.2%) and Illinois (11.3%).  The lowest state rate is Florida at 3.4% and the highest is Alaska at 11.6%. The rate for the U.S. as a whole is 6.2%.  Wisconsin’s year-over-year change is 16th best among the states.  The Wisconsin rate for January was 5.8%.

The national NSA construction unemployment rate fell .2% from January to February.  In years past, a monthly decline has only occurred about a third of the time since the report first began in 2000 (six out of the previous 19 years).

“The strength of the February construction employment numbers continued to reflect the strength of construction throughout much of the country,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “Unemployment rates in February were lower compared to a year ago in 46 states, unchanged in one—Hawaii—and higher in three—Idaho, Kansas and Louisiana. At the same time, the country and 30 of the states posted their lowest February construction unemployment rates on record.”

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.

February Wisconsin NSA Construction
Unemployment Since 2004
2004 18.1%
2005 19.2%
2006 15.4%
2007 20.8%
2008 15.6%
2009 21.7%
2010 29.6%
2011 24.7%
2012 21.3%
2013 21.2%
2014 21.4%
2015 13.8%
2016 13.7%
2017 5.5%
2018 8.0%
2019 5.8%
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