August Construction Unemployment Rates Improve in 45 States

October 1st, 2015 by Editor

The national construction employment picture has continued to improve from last year, according to a report from the Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. (ABC). The not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rates for the country and 45 states were down in August on a year-over-year basis. For the first eight months of the year, construction added 113,000 seasonally adjusted (SA) jobs. At the same time, NSA jobs increased by 221,000 from August 2014 to August 2015.

According to ABC, for the last 15 years, August and September have been transition months for the national NSA construction unemployment rate. Roughly half the time the rate increases from the previous month. This August, the rate rose 0.6 percent. Thus it is no surprise that 44 states saw their estimated NSA construction unemployment rate increase from July.

Despite the rise in rates, all state construction unemployment rates were under 10 percent for the third consecutive month. The NSA construction unemployment rate for four states—Arkansas, Ohio, Utah, and Wisconsin—was unchanged from the previous month. Two states—Georgia and Indiana—experienced a small decline in their rate.

The report notes that this improvement in construction employment has been driven by expanding construction activity. As of July, SA total construction spending has increased for eight months in a row. July year-to-date NSA construction spending was up 9.3 percent from the same period in 2014. However, although heavy engineering (non-building) construction spending has risen for five consecutive months, it is down 3.7 percent on a year-to-date basis compared to the same period last year. According to ABC, nonresidential building construction is surging—up 19.7 percent year-to-date. That outstrips residential construction spending, which is up 10.4 percent year-to-date.

The Top Five States with the Lowest Construction Unemployment:

  1. North Dakota
  2. Wyoming
  3. Hawaii*
  4. Nebraska and South Dakota*

* Unemployment rate is for construction, mining, and logging combined

The Bottom Five States with the Highest Construction Unemployment:

  1. Arizona
  2. Mississippi
  3. Rhode Island and West Virginia
  4. New Mexico
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