Wisconsin October Construction unemployment up

From ABC National

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Wisconsin’s estimated not seasonally adjusted construction unemployment rate in October was 3.5%, according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), 0.9% higher than October 2018.  The rate is the third lowest October on record, but o.9% higher than October 2018. It ranks 20th among the states. The overall Wisconsin unemployment rate is 2.8%.

Once again, Wisconsin is outperforming its neighboring states, including Iowa (3.7%); Minnesota (4.1%), Illinois (6.3%) and Michigan (4.9%).

Unemployment chart

As of October 2019, the construction industry employed 146,000 more workers nationally compared to October 2018, even as national NSA construction unemployment rate climbed from 3.6% to 4% over the same period, according to BLS numbers. This continues the trend of declining growth in construction employment. October’s rise in year-over-year employment is the smallest increase since the January 2013 increase of 116,000.

“In October, above-average precipitation in the Eastern half of the country while wildfires raged in parts of the West likely slowed construction activity and employment,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “Also, below-average temperatures in the northwest quadrant of the country probably acted as a drag on construction in those areas.”

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 rates still provides some information, although extra care must be used when drawing conclusions from these variations.

The national NSA construction unemployment rate increased 0.8% from September to October. The historical pattern generally has been for rates to rise from September. Prior to this year, there were 12 increases and seven decreases since the data series began in 2000. Among the states, 42 had higher estimated construction unemployment rates from September, while five were lower and three were unchanged.

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