Construction Unemployment Down Year-Over-Year

February construction unemployment rates improved in 41 states from a year ago, according to analysis by Dr. Bernard Markstein of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).

At 8.7 percent, the not-seasonally-adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rates for the country and 41 states were lower than in February 2015. February’s 1.9 percent year-over-year improvement continues the streak of year-over-year NSA construction unemployment rate declines dating back to October 2010. On a year-over-year basis, February national NSA employment in construction increased by 253,000, according to Markstein.

Bernstein notes that the NSA unemployment rates have a seasonal pattern, with the national rate often increasing from January to February. That was the case this year, as February’s mark was up slightly from January’s 8.5 percent. However, 22 states posted a decrease in their rate from January, and two states (Florida and Kansas) had no change.

It was the second-lowest February national construction unemployment rate going back to the beginning of the series in 2000, surpassed only by the 8.6 percent rate in February 2006, according to Markstein.

The five states with the lowest construction unemployment rates in February in order from lowest rate to highest were Georgia, Colorado, Hawaii, Virginia and Texas. The unemployment rate in Hawaii includes construction, mining and logging combined.
Four states—Colorado, Georgia, Texas and Virginia—were also among the top five in January. Georgia, with a 4.8 percent estimated construction unemployment rate in February, had the lowest rate for the third consecutive month.

The five states with the highest construction unemployment rates (from lowest to highest) were North Dakota, Wyoming, Rhode Island, West Virginia and Alaska.

The five states with the highest estimated construction unemployment rates in February were the same as in January, although some of the rankings changed. Alaska, with an 18-percent rate in February, had the highest mark for the sixth consecutive month.

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