Construction Unemployment in Wisconsin Just Misses Record Mark for January

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Estimated January not seasonally adjusted construction unemployment rates dropped in 48 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 January 2019 national NSA construction unemployment rate fell 0.9 percent from a year ago to 6.4 percent, the construction industry employed 343,000 more workers nationally compared to January 2018, according to BLS numbers.

In Wisconsin, the NSA construction unemployment rate for January was 5.8 percent, a drop of one percent from January 2018’s rate of 6.8 percent. Wisconsin’s 5.8 percent is the second lowest state rate on record and only a tenth of a percent off the record mark in January 2017. Wisconsin also compares favorably to neighboring states, such as Minnesota (10.5), Michigan (8.7), Iowa (12.9) and Illinois (11.5).  The lowest state rate is 3.5 percent (South Dakota) and the highest is 15.5 percent (Alaska).  The rate for the U.S. as a whole is 6.4 percent.  Wisconsin’s year-over-year change is 17th best among the states.  The Wisconsin rate for December was 4.9 percent.

january-2019-estimated-construction-unemployment-grap

The national NSA construction unemployment rate rose 1.3 percent from December to January–a monthly increase for this period that has been the pattern since the report first began in 2000. All the states posted higher estimated construction unemployment rates this year from December.

“Despite the government shutdown, the January construction employment numbers continued to be healthy reflecting the strength of construction throughout the country,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “Unemployment rates in January were lower compared to a year ago in 48 states and higher in two—Hawaii and Colorado. The country and 28 of the states posted their lowest January 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.

January Wisconsin NSA Construction
Unemployment Since 2004
2004 16.8%
2005 17.5%
2006 14.5%
2007 15.8%
2008 14.5%
2009 18.4%
2010 27.1%
2011 24.2%
2012 21.5%
2013 21.0%
2014 20.6%
2015 12.2%
2016 12.4%
2017 5.7%
2018 6.8%
2019 5.8%
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