The top and bottom 5 states for construction employment

The top and bottom 5 states for construction employment

Dive Brief:

  • Nationwide, construction’s not-seasonally-adjusted U.S. unemployment rate dropped 0.6% in December 2022, from 5% to 4.4%, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data analyzed by Associated Builders and Contractors. Thirty-two states had lower unemployment rates at the end of 2022 compared to the end of 2021.
  • Construction employment was up 242,000 in December 2022, compared to one year prior. Residential construction employment has fully recovered from the pre-pandemic high, but the nonresidential payroll is still 45,000 beneath pre-COVID-19 numbers.
  • Total seasonally adjusted construction employment rose above its February 2020 pre-pandemic peak of 7.6 million from March through December 2022, aside for a slight dip in April. As of December, it was 153,000 greater than its pre-pandemic peak.

Dive Insight:

The five states with the lowest NSA unemployment rates were:

  • Colorado (1.2%). 
  • Tennessee (2%). 
  • Utah (2.1%).
  • Florida (2.2%). 
  • Nebraska (2.6%). 

All except Utah posted their lowest December NSA unemployment rate on record. 

The bottom five states were:

  • Alaska (13.3%). 
  • Wyoming (10.4%). 
  • Minnesota (7.6%). 
  • Ohio (7.4%).
  • Illinois (7.1%).

Economists look at national and state unemployment rates on a year-over-year basis because they are not seasonally adjusted, and thus are considered more accurate than monthly fluctuations.

Nevertheless, the impacts of COVID-19, interest rates and other disruptions offer unique comparisons month-to-month in the current, rapidly shifting economic environment, ABC reported.

“High interest rates are negatively affecting demand for single-family housing, yet construction employment continues to rise as builders work on their backlog of projects,” said Bernard Markstein, chief economist of Markstein Advisors, which conducted the analysis for ABC.

Still, construction faces a shortage of skilled trades workers. As a result, employers are trying to hold onto their workers as they look to the eventual upturn in demand for new projects, Markstein said. 

“Nonresidential construction employers fully expect demand to rise over this year and next as more state and local projects tap into federal funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and move from the planning stage to the execution stage,” he said.

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