Source: Associated Builders and Contractors
The not seasonally adjusted national construction unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in August, down 0.4 percent from a year ago and the lowest August rate on record, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.
Unemployment rates were also down in 35 states on a year-over-year basis, according to an analysis today by Associated Builders and Contractors. Rates rose in nine states and were unchanged in six. Further, the construction industry employed 206,000 more workers than in August 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.
Note that the data for these measures were collected before Hurricane Harvey struck Texas or Hurricane Irma struck Florida. Therefore these unemployment rates do not reflect the impact of the hurricanes on the U.S. economy or the states that suffered hurricane damage. Expect those effects to be evident in next month’s report.
“The August drop in construction unemployment rate for the nation and most states is a welcome sign that July’s upward blip in rates was temporary. However, we will need to keep an eye on the impact on construction from the recent hurricanes,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “The workers for hurricane recovery will be drawn from a workforce already stretched thin from existing projects. In particular, there already is a shortage of skilled workers. The recovery process will re-emphasize the need to recruit young people to the industry and train them.”
From the beginning of the data series in 2000 through 2016, the monthly movement in the national NSA construction unemployment rate from July to August has been a decrease eight times, an increase eight times as well and unchanged once. This year, the rate decreased 0.2 percent from July. Among the states, 28 had decreases in their August estimated rate from July, 19 were up and three saw no change.
To see the top and bottom five states, read ABC’s full announcement.