Wisconsin construction unemployment remained steady in September

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4, 2022 — Wisconsin’s estimated not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rate in September was 4.0%, according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). The 4.0% is the same as it was in August and is a bit higher than the 3.2% overall Wisconsin unemployment rate. The construction unemployment rate was 3.0% in September 2021. Wisconsin’s not seasonally-adjusted construction unemployment rate is 27th among the states.

Nationally, the not seasonally adjusted national construction unemployment rate dropped 1.1% in September 2022 from a year ago, down from 4.5% to 3.4%. Meanwhile, Forty-two states had lower unemployment rates over the same period, Arkansas was the only other state that was unchanged. Six states were higher.

National NSA payroll construction employment was 282,000 higher than in September 2021. From March through September of this year, seasonally adjusted construction employment has been above its February 2020 pre-pandemic peak (7,624,000) except for a slight dip in April. As of September, it was 95,000 greater than its pre-pandemic peak.

Residential construction employment has fully recovered, while nonresidential construction employment is still below its pre-pandemic peak. September SA residential payroll construction employment was 162,000 above its pre-pandemic peak while nonresidential payroll construction employment was 67,000 below its pre-pandemic peak.

The September 2022 national NSA construction unemployment rate of 3.4% was up 0.2% from September 2019. However, over that same time period, 29 states had lower construction unemployment rates, two were unchanged and 19 states had higher rates.

“Higher interest rates are having a negative effect on plans for new construction projects; nonetheless, construction employment continues to rise as builders work on their backlog of projects,” said Bernard Markstein, president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “Further, builders are still reporting a shortage of skilled workers. Although employers want to hold on to their workers, slowing demand for new projects along with completion of older projects eventually is likely to force some contractors to reduce their workforce. At the same time, construction employment will be helped by spending on projects implemented through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.”

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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