WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 29—October not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rates were down in 33 states and the nation on a year-over-year basis, according to analysis released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). The national NSA construction unemployment rate of 5.7 percent was down 0.5 percent from a year ago, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

This was the lowest national October construction unemployment rate since 2006, when it was 4.5 percent. BLS data also reported that the industry employed 175,000 more people than in October 2015.
 
“October 2016 adds yet another month to the long-running streak of monthly year-over-year rate declines in the national construction unemployment rate that began in October 2010,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “These industry-specific unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted, so it is important to note states’ performance on a year-over-year basis. The improvement from last year in the national unemployment rate as well as in the rates of 33 states is a further indication that the construction job market remains healthy. Further, demand for skilled construction workers is especially strong.”

For October, the historical pattern for change in the national NSA construction unemployment rate from September is for there to be an increase. Starting in 2000, when the BLS data for this series begins, through 2015, the October rate has risen 11 times and fallen five times from September. This year’s increase of 0.5 percent adds a 12th year during which the rate has increased from the month before.

Nonetheless, 15 states posted a decline in their estimated construction unemployment rates from September. Three states—Michigan, Ohio and Utah—had unchanged rates month-over-month. North Dakota’s rate was unchanged from October 2015.

View states ranked by their construction unemployment rate
, their year-over-year improvement in construction employment, their monthly improvement in construction employment and a regional breakdown of states' construction unemployment rates.

View states unemployment rate for all industries.

The Top Five States
The states with the lowest estimated NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest rate to highest they were:

1.    North Dakota
2.    Massachusetts
3.    Colorado
4.    Utah
5.    New Hampshire and South Dakota (tied)

Four states—Colorado, Massachusetts, North Dakota and South Dakota—were also among the top five in September.

North Dakota, with a 2.4 percent estimated NSA construction unemployment rate, had the lowest rate among the states in October. This was up from tied for fourth lowest rate with Massachusetts in September based on revised data (previously reported as tied for third lowest rate with Idaho). Although construction employment in the state has been trending down since it peaked in October 2014, it remains higher than it was prior to 2012.

Massachusetts, with a 2.5 percent construction unemployment rate, moved up to the second lowest rate in October from tied with North Dakota for fourth lowest rate in September based on revised data (previously reported as fifth lowest rate). Massachusetts had both the fourth largest year-over-year decrease (down 2 percent) and the fourth largest monthly decline (down 0.8 percent).

Colorado dropped from the lowest rate in September to third lowest rate in October with a 3.1 percent rate.

Utah’s estimated NSA construction unemployment rate held steady at 3.4 percent, moving it from sixth lowest in September to fourth lowest in October.

New Hampshire and South Dakota tied for fifth lowest rate in October, both with a 3.6 percent rate. For New Hampshire, it was an improvement from ninth lowest rate in September, tied with Georgia. For South Dakota, it was a demotion from second lowest rate in September.

Idaho fell from third lowest in September to seventh lowest in October with a 3.8 percent rate.

Arkansas had the largest drop and Louisiana had the second largest drop in monthly NSA construction unemployment rates—down 1.4 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively. Arkansas also had the second largest year-over-year decrease in its rate, down 3.1 percent. Arkansas’s 5.5 percent rate was the state’s lowest October rate since 2006, when it was 5 percent. Louisiana’s 5 percent rate was the state’s lowest October rate since 2007, when it was 4.1 percent.

Nevada’s 3.4 percent year-over-year plunge in its construction unemployment rate to 4.9 percent was the largest decrease among the states. It was also the state’s lowest October rate since October 2007 when it also stood at 4.9 percent.

The Bottom Five States
The states with the highest NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest to highest rates were:

48.    Illinois and Rhode Island (tie)
49.    New Mexico and Pennsylvania (tie)
50.    Alaska

Four of these states—Alaska, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island—were also among the five states with the highest construction unemployment rates in September.

As in September, Alaska had the highest estimated NSA construction unemployment rate in October (13 percent). Although it had the largest monthly rate increase among the states, up 3.1 percent, it also had the third largest year-over-year rate decrease, down 2.7 percent.

Since these are NSA construction unemployment rates, it is normal for Alaska to post among the highest rates in the country around this time of year. The state’s NSA rate normally increases in October—it only decreased once since 2000 when the estimates begin, down 0.2 percent in October 2006.

New Mexico and Pennsylvania had the second highest construction unemployment rate in October, 8.8 percent. That was the same ranking as in September for New Mexico. Pennsylvania had the fourth highest rate in September. Pennsylvania, along with Nebraska, had the second largest year-over-year increase in its rate—up 1 percent.

Illinois and Rhode Island had the fourth highest rate in October, 8.7 percent. In September, Illinois had the sixth highest rate and Rhode Island had the third highest rate. This was Rhode Island’s lowest October rate since 2007, when it was 7 percent. Illinois had the second largest monthly increase among the states, up 1.5 percent.

Alabama, which had the fifth highest estimated construction unemployment rate in September, had the sixth highest rate in October, 8.5 percent.

To better understand the basis for calculating unemployment rates and what they measure, see the article Background on State Construction Unemployment Rates.