Construction Unemployment Down 2.6% in June

Credit: Associated Builders and Contractors

By Associated Builders and Contractors

The not seasonally adjusted national construction unemployment rate was down 2.6 percent in June 2021 from a year ago and 45 states had lower unemployment rates over the same period, according to state-by-state analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released by Associated Builders and Contractors. Although not back to pre-pandemic levels, both overall employment and construction employment have demonstrated significant improvement during the past year.

National NSA construction employment was up 233,000 from June 2020. Nonetheless, seasonally adjusted construction employment remained 238,000, or 3.1 percent, below its February 2020 peak, before the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic began to affect the employment numbers. This was better than national SA nonfarm payroll employment, which was 4.4 percent below its February 2020 peak as of June.

The national NSA construction unemployment rate went from 5.5 percent in February 2020 to 7.5 percent in June 2021. During that same period, 21 states had lower estimated NSA construction unemployment rates and 29 had higher rates.

“The widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines and the economy’s bounce back are boosting the construction industry,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “The strength of the economic recovery will be tested in coming months by the delta variant and as the outflow of funds from the American Rescue Plan Act starts to dry up. Congress is working to address the nation’s long-standing need to repair and upgrade its infrastructure, and a qualified workforce will be necessary to get the infrastructure built. Yet a skilled workforce shortage persists. If a commonsense, bipartisan infrastructure bill is enacted into law, the economy, the construction industry and the construction workforce will benefit.”

Recent Month-to-Month Fluctuations

Because these industry-specific rates are not seasonally adjusted, national and state unemployment rates are best evaluated on a year-over-year basis. However, due to the changing impact from the COVID-19 pandemic and related shifts in public policy, month-to-month comparisons are useful.

The vagaries of the pandemic’s impact and the uneven recovery both affected the June construction unemployment rate. In most years, the June national NSA construction unemployment rate is down from May. This year, it was up by 0.8 percent, only the third time that the June rate has increased from May since the data series began in 2000. Among the states, only eight had lower estimated construction unemployment rates than in May; 42 states had higher rates. (Source)

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