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Construction Unemployment Rate Down Y-o-Y

Credit: Associated Builders and Contractors

Source: Associated Builders and Contractors 

Estimated February not seasonally adjusted construction unemployment rates fell nationally and in 37 states, rose in 12 states and were unchanged in one state (Texas) on a year-over-year basis, according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released by Associated Builders and Contractors. 

As of February 2020, the construction industry employed 208,000 more workers nationally compared to February 2019 while the national NSA construction unemployment rate decreased from 6.2 percent to 5.5 percent over the same period, according to BLS numbers. This is an indication of the underlying strength of the construction industry prior to widespread concern over the impact of the coronavirus and reaction to it in the United States.   

“In February, large portions of the country experienced above-average temperatures. The Eastern third of the country, along with the northern tier of states and the West Coast, had warmer than normal weather. This aided construction activity and employment,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “These numbers were collected before actions were taken by many localities and businesses to control the spread of COVID-19 in the United States. These efforts to limit the impact of the coronavirus on the health of the nation and consequently on construction activity will begin to show in the data for March and April and beyond. 

“March national employment and unemployment figures released on April 3rd, along with the recent surge in unemployment insurance claims, indicate a large impact on the economy. The March employment and unemployment data were collected before many places issued stay-at-home recommendations. However, growing concern over the spread of the disease was adversely affecting employment. The NSA construction unemployment rate jumped from 5.5 percent in February to 6.9 percent in March, only the third time in the history of this number that it rose from February.” 

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 rates still provides some information, although extra care must be used when drawing conclusions from these variations. 

The national NSA construction unemployment rate increased 0.1 percent from January to February. Over the time since the data series began in 2000, the historical pattern generally has been an increase in rates from January with 12 increases, seven decreases and once unchanged. Among the states, 27 had higher estimated construction unemployment rates than in January, while 20 were lower and three were unchanged. At the same time, the nation and 23 states posted their lowest February construction unemployment rate on record. 

Read more at Associated Builders and Contractors. 

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