, Aug. 1—In June, the not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rate
was 4.5 percent, down 0.1 percent from a year ago and the lowest June rate on record, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). According to an analysis released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), NSA construction unemployment rates were down in 31 states on a year-over-year basis, and the construction industry employed 204,000 more workers than in June 2016.
Because these industry-specific rates are not seasonally adjusted, national and state-level unemployment rates are best evaluated on a year-over-year basis.
“Not only was this the lowest national not seasonally adjusted June construction unemployment rate on record, but all the states had estimated construction unemployment rates below 10 percent,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “That is an indication of the health of the construction industry, although a shortage of skilled construction workers still appears to plague the industry.”
Since the beginning of the data series in January 2000, the monthly movement in the national NSA construction unemployment rate from May to June has been a decrease every year except one—2010, when there was no change in the rate from May. This trend continued in 2017 with a 0.8 percent rate drop in the NSA rate from the month before. Among the states, 38 had declines in their June estimated rate from May, and two (Iowa and South Carolina) saw no change.
The Top Five States
The states with the lowest estimated NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest rate to highest were:
3. Colorado and New Hampshire (tied)
5. North Dakota
Three states—Colorado, Idaho and Vermont—were also among the top five in May. Idaho, with a 1.4 percent estimated NSA construction unemployment rate, had the lowest rate among the states. That was up from second lowest in May based on revised data (previously reported as the third lowest rate). It was also the state’s lowest June NSA rate since the 1.1 percent in June 2007.
Vermont, with a 2 percent construction unemployment rate, had the second lowest rate in June. This was down from the lowest rate in May. It was the state’s second lowest estimated June rate after the 1.8 percent rate in June 2004.
Colorado and New Hampshire tied for third lowest June rate, with a 2.2 percent construction unemployment rate. For Colorado that was unchanged from being tied with Indiana and Iowa for third lowest rate in May based on revised data (Colorado was previously reported with the fourth lowest rate in May). It was the state’s second lowest June rate (matching June 2001’s 2.2 percent rate) since the 1.5 percent rate in June 2000.
New Hampshire catapulted to third from 17th lowest rate in May. Its rate is the state’s lowest June construction unemployment rate since the estimates began in 2000. Also, the Granite State had the fifth largest monthly decline, down 1.9 percent.
North Dakota, with a 2.3 percent rate, had the fifth lowest rate in June. That was up from sixth lowest rate in May based on revised data (previously reported as tied with Indiana for fifth lowest rate).
Indiana, which tied with Colorado and Iowa for the third lowest rate in May based on revised data (Indiana was previously reported as tied with North Dakota for fifth lowest rate), dropped to 10th lowest in June, tied with Minnesota, with a 2.8 percent rate. Nonetheless, it was the state’s lowest June rate on record and the fifth largest year-over-year decline among the states, down 1.1 percent.
Iowa, which tied with Colorado and Indiana for the third lowest rate in May based on revised data (Iowa was previously reported with the second lowest rate), fell to sixth lowest in June (tied with South Dakota) with a 2.4 percent rate. However, it was Iowa’s second lowest June rate on record after 2000’s 2.2 percent rate.
The Bottom Five States
The states with the highest NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest to highest rates were:
47. Alabama and Connecticut (tied)
50. New Mexico
Three of these states—Alaska, New Mexico and Mississippi—were also among the five states with the highest construction unemployment rates in May.
New Mexico had the highest estimated NSA construction unemployment rate in June, 9.1 percent, compared to the second highest rate in May based on revised data (previously reported as the highest rate). For the state, this was still the lowest June rate (along with 2014’s 9.1 percent) since the 5 percent rate in 2008.
Alaska had the second highest rate in June at 7.3 percent. In May, it had the highest rate based on revised data (previously reported as the second highest rate). Although Alaska’s high unemployment rate in late fall through early spring is to be expected since these are not seasonally adjusted construction unemployment rates, the rate is relatively high compared to other states in spite of some significant improvement. June did mark the end of nine straight months of Alaska having the highest rate in the nation. Meanwhile, the state posted the largest monthly rate drop from May in the country (down 3.9 percent).
Mississippi had the third highest estimated NSA construction unemployment rate in June, 7.2 percent, compared to the fourth highest rate in May, tied with Missouri. On the positive side, it was the state’s second lowest June construction unemployment rate since the beginning of the estimates in 2000, behind last year’s 6.5 percent rate.
Alabama and Connecticut had the fourth highest rate in June, 6.8 percent. In May, Alabama had the 19th highest rate. The state had the largest monthly increase in the nation, up 1.1 percent. Nevertheless, June’s rate was down 0.3 percent from June of last year, and it was Alabama’s lowest June rate since the 5.6 percent rate in June 2007.
In May, Connecticut had the sixth highest rate. Although up from last June’s 5.9 percent rate (the fifth largest year-over-year increase—up 0.9 percent), June’s 6.8 percent was the state’s second lowest June construction unemployment rate since the 6.6 percent rate in 2007.
Missouri, which tied with Mississippi for the fourth highest rate in May based on revised data (Missouri was previously reported with the fifth highest rate), improved to the 19th highest rate in June along with Maryland and Washington with a 4.7 percent rate. It was also Missouri’s second lowest June NSA construction unemployment rate (matching the June rate in 2001 and 2006), behind the 3.6 percent rate in 2000. The state’s 3.4 percent rate drop from May was the second largest in the country.
Pennsylvania, which had the third highest rate in May, tied with Kentucky for the sixth highest rate in June, with a 6.3 percent rate. It was the state’s lowest June construction unemployment rate since 2006 (6.1 percent). Pennsylvania also had the fourth largest decline in the nation in its rate from May, down 2.5 percent.
To better understand the basis for calculating unemployment rates and what they measure, see the article Background on State Construction Unemployment Rates
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