Wisconsin’s November construction unemployment rate higher

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 is 2.9%.

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%).

Construction unemployment chart

As of November 2019, the construction industry employed 145,000 more workers nationally compared to November 2018, even as the national NSA construction unemployment rate climbed from 3.9% to 4.4% over the same period, according to BLS numbers. This continues the trend of declining year-over-year growth in construction employment. November’s rise in year-over-year employment is the smallest increase since the January 2013 increase of 116,000.

“In November, below-average temperatures over most of the eastern half of the country likely acted as a drag on construction activity and employment,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “Meanwhile, although there were above-average temperatures among the West Coast states and most Mountain states, wildfires continued to plague the region, a negative for 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 0.4% from October to November. The historical pattern generally has been an increase in rates from October. Prior to this year, there were 15 increases, two decreases and two unchanged rates since the data series began in 2000. Among the states, 38 had higher estimated construction unemployment rates than in October, while nine were lower and three were unchanged (California, Massachusetts and South Dakota).

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