Wisconsin construction unemployment numbers 10th lowest among states

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2023 — Wisconsin’s not seasonally-adjusted construction unemployment rate is 10th lowest among the states. Wisconsin’s estimated not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rate in June was 1.9%, down 0.07% from May, but slightly higher than the 1.7% in June 2022, according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). The 1.9% is significantly lower than the 3.4% overall Wisconsin unemployment rate. The national rate for June is 3.8%.

National NSA payroll construction employment was 199,000 higher than in June 2022. From February 2022 through June 2023, seasonally adjusted construction employment was above its pre-pandemic peak of 7.6 million.

In October 2021, residential construction employment moved above its pre-pandemic peak, while nonresidential construction employment only recently did so in February 2023. June 2023 seasonally adjusted residential payroll construction employment was 308,000 above its pre-pandemic peak while nonresidential payroll construction employment was 28,000 above its pre-pandemic peak.

Graphic of an unemployment chart.

“Construction activity and employment has been surprisingly strong in the face of higher interest rates. Residential construction employment has been aided by home builders catching up with their projects and increased demand for new homes due to the low inventory of existing homes for sale. Meanwhile, nonresidential construction activity and employment are rising, stimulated by funding and tax incentives for manufacturers, states and localities from federal programs such as the CHIPS Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” said Bernard Markstein, president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “However, recent and possible future increases in the Federal Reserve’s target federal funds rate and various lenders tightening standards for commercial construction projects are a headwind for future construction projects and employment.”

Because these industry-specific rates are not seasonally adjusted, national and state-level unemployment rates are best evaluated on a year-over-year basis. However, due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, month-to-month comparisons are useful.

Find more relevant articles in the Wisconsin Contractor Blog.

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