Associated Builders and Contractors: Wisconsin construction unemployment rate reaches all-time low

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Wisconsin’s construction unemployment rate set an all-time record low for any month on record, according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).

The estimated not seasonally adjusted construction unemployment rate in Wisconsin dropped to 1.3%, topping the previous record of 1.7% for May 2017. The 1.3% rate is seventh best among the states. It’s also a drop of 0.9% from May 2018 and 2% from April 2019. It is also 1.4% lower than the not seasonally adjusted overall state unemployment rate of 2.7% for the month of May.

Rates fell nationally and in 46 states on a year-over-year basis, according to the U.S. BLS data. The construction industry employed 203,000 more workers nationally, compared to May 2018. The national May rate fell 1.2% from 4.4% to 3.2%.

“The May construction employment numbers continue to reflect the strength of the construction industry and its impact on the economy all over the country,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “For the first time since last October, all states had a construction unemployment rate less than 10%, and for the first time in the history of the estimates, they were all under 7%.”

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 variations.