WASHINGTON, DC — June not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rates improved in 47 states and the nation on a year-over-year basis according to analysis released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). The national construction unemployment rate of 4.6 percent was 1.7 percent lower than a year ago according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Further, the industry boasted its lowest June rate since 2000 when it matched this June’s 4.6 percent rate. BLS data also showed that the industry employed 229,000 more people than in June 2015.
“The drop in the construction unemployment rate from June 2015 extends the uninterrupted monthly sequence of year-over-year rate decreases that started in October 2010,” said economist Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “Starting in 2000, when the BLS data for this series begins, the June national NSA construction unemployment rate has fallen from May every year except 2010 when it was unchanged. This is not surprising given that this is not seasonally adjusted data and that construction activity normally continues to rise nationwide as the weather improves throughout the country. This year’s decrease of 0.6 percent from May continues this pattern.”
Four states—Connecticut, Hawaii, Mississippi and Wyoming—posted an increase in their estimated construction unemployment rate from May (Hawaii’s rate includes mining and logging in addition to construction). Three states—North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming—saw their construction unemployment rate increase from June a year ago. Both Wyoming’s monthly and year-over-year increases were small, up 0.1 percent. For the second month in a row, all states had construction unemployment rates under 10 percent. The last time that occurred in June was in 2005.
The Top Five States
The five states with the lowest estimated NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest rate to highest were:
3. Idaho and Iowa (tie)
Three states—Iowa, Nebraska and Vermont—were also among the top five in May. Vermont, with a 1.9 percent construction unemployment rate, had the lowest rate among the states in June. The state also had the lowest rate in May based on revised data. Colorado improved from seventh lowest rate in May to second lowest in June with a 2.3 percent rate, its lowest June rate since 2001. Idaho and Iowa tied with the third lowest rate in June, each with 2.4 percent, down from 3.2 percent and 3.5 percent in June 2015, respectively. Nebraska slipped from fourth lowest rate in May based on revised data to fifth in June, although its rate dropped from three percent in May to 2.5 percent in June.
The Bottom Five States
The five states with the highest estimated NSA construction unemployment rates (from lowest to highest) were:
48. Rhode Island
49. New Mexico
Alabama, New Mexico and Rhode Island were also in the bottom five in May. Alabama’s highest-in-the-country construction unemployment rate of 8 percent is the state’s lowest June rate since 2008’s 7.9 percent rate. New Mexico tied with West Virginia for the largest year-over-year drop in construction unemployment rates, down 3.3 percent, but still had the second highest estimated rate at 7.6 percent.
Rhode Island had the third highest rate at 7.3 percent. Nonetheless, the state has seen steady improvement in its construction unemployment rate and its 1.7 percent decrease from May was the second largest drop among the states. Connecticut had the fourth highest estimated construction unemployment rate at 6.9 percent while Mississippi was fifth highest at 6.8 percent. Although both Connecticut and Mississippi had year-over-year declines in their rates—down 0.8 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively—they were two of the four states whose rate increased from May.
Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) launched its state-by-state economic analysis in 2015 with the release of economist Bernard M. Markstein's analysis of construction's contribution to each state's gross domestic product (GDP). Unique to ABC, Markstein's monthly state-level construction unemployment rate estimates and analysis of state-level construction job markets are produced in addition to ABC's existing national economic data and analysis.
Background on how the data was derived and Markstein's methodology is available on ABC's website.