December Construction Unemployment Rates Down in 46 States
Nation posts lowest December rate on record, says ABC
The not seasonally adjusted (NSA) national construction unemployment rate was 5.9 percent in December, down 1.5 percent from December 2016 and the lowest December rate on record, according to an analysis released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data. Estimated construction unemployment rates were down in 46 states on a year-over-year basis, unchanged in one (Idaho) and up in three states (Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire).
At the same time, the construction industry employed 250,000 more workers than in December 2016.
“Healthy construction activity throughout much of the country is supporting strong construction employment,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “The recovery and rebuilding efforts following 2017’s hurricanes, floods and wildfires continue to increase demand for workers, offsetting some of the usual seasonal reductions in construction employment. Many workers in cold-weather states who have experienced normal reduced demand for their services have moved to states where building and rebuilding continues.”
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 the rates still provides some information, although extra care must be used in drawing conclusions from these movements.
From the beginning of the data series in 2000 through 2016, the monthly change in the national NSA construction unemployment rate from November to December has always been an increase. The rate for December 2017 was no different, increasing 0.9 percent from November, well below the median increase of 1.9 percent. Among the states, 46 had increases and four had decreases (Alaska, Montana, Nevada and Oregon).
The Top Five States
The states with the lowest estimated December NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest to highest were:
1. Hawaii, 2.9 percent
2. Colorado, 3.8 percent
3. Massachusetts, 3.9 percent
4. Virginia, 4 percent
5. Georgia, South Carolina and Texas (tie), 4.2 percent
Three of the top five states were in the top five in November: Colorado, Hawaii and Massachusetts.