December not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rates were down in 26 states and the nation on a year-over-year basis, according to analysis by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).

The national NSA construction unemployment rate of 7.4 percent was down 0.1 percent from a year ago, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This rate has fallen from the previous year’s reading every month since October 2010, ABC reports.

“The ongoing year-over-year decline in the national unemployment rate is an indication of the health of the construction job market and its recovery from the deep recession it experienced,” says Dr. Bernard M. Markstein, president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “However, the growing shortage of skilled construction workers is hindering the ability of the sector to grow with more than 80 percent of Associated Builders and Contractors members reporting a shortage of appropriately skilled labor.”

The five states with the lowest estimated NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest rate to highest were Massachusetts, Colorado, Hawaii, New Hampshire and Virginia. The states with the highest NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest to highest rates were Alabama and New Mexico (tied), Montana, Illinois and North Dakota (tied), and Alaska.