Wisconsin’s December 2019 construction unemployment up from December 2018

From ABC National

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan 6, 2020 — Wisconsin’s estimated not seasonally adjusted construction unemployment rate in November was 4.2%, according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), 0.7% higher than November 2018.  The rate is the third lowest November on record, but 0.7% higher than the 3.5% rate in November 2018. The rate in October 2019 was also 3.5%. The overall Wisconsin unemployment rate was 3.2% in December.

The 4.2% in November ranks 21st among the states. Once again, Wisconsin is outperforming its neighboring states, including Iowa (6.0%); Michigan (6.1%); Minnesota (8.2%); and Illinois (7.4%).

NSA State Construction Unemployment Chart

As of December 2019, the construction industry employed 143,000 more workers nationally compared to December 2018, while the national NSA construction unemployment rate decreased from 5.1% to 5% over the same period, according to BLS numbers. This continues the trend of declining year-over-year growth in construction employment, though it was down only slightly from November’s increase. Still, December’s rise in year-over-year employment is the smallest increase since the January 2013 increase of 116,000.

“In December, most of the country experienced above-average temperatures, and the Southeast, from Texas through Florida, experienced significantly warmer than normal weather. That aided construction activity and employment,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “Although the shortage of skilled construction workers appears to have eased somewhat, builders continue to indicate that the shortage is slowing their ability to complete existing projects and limiting their willingness to bid on new projects.”

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 0.6% from November to December. Over the 19-year period since the data series began in 2000, the historical pattern always has been an increase in rates from November. Among the states, 42 had higher estimated construction unemployment rates than in November, while seven were lower and one was unchanged (Arizona). At the same time, the nation and 19 states posted their lowest December construction unemployment rate on record.

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