National Construction Unemployment Rate Falls to 4.5 Percent, the Lowest June Rate on Record, Says ABC

Washington, Aug. 1—In June, the not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rate was 4.5 percent, down 0.1 percent from a year ago and the lowest June rate on record, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). According to an analysis released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), NSA construction unemployment rates were down in 31 states on a year-over-year basis, and the construction industry employed 204,000 more workers than in June 2016.

Because these industry-specific rates are not seasonally adjusted, national and state-level unemployment rates are best evaluated on a year-over-year basis.

“Not only was this the lowest national not seasonally adjusted June construction unemployment rate on record, but all the states had estimated construction unemployment rates below 10 percent,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “That is an indication of the health of the construction industry, although a shortage of skilled construction workers still appears to plague the industry.”

Since the beginning of the data series in January 2000, the monthly movement in the national NSA construction unemployment rate from May to June has been a decrease every year except one—2010, when there was no change in the rate from May. This trend continued in 2017 with a 0.8 percent rate drop in the NSA rate from the month before. Among the states, 38 had declines in their June estimated rate from May, and two (Iowa and South Carolina) saw no change.

The Top Five States
The states with the lowest estimated NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest rate to highest were:
1. Idaho, 1.4 percent
2. Vermont, 2 percent
3. Colorado and New Hampshire (tied), 2.2 percent
4. North Dakota, 2.3 percent

Three states—Colorado, Idaho and Vermont—were also among the top five in May.

Idaho, with a 1.4 percent estimated NSA construction unemployment rate, had the lowest rate among the states. It was also the state’s lowest June NSA rate since the 1.1 percent in June 2007.

Vermont, with a 2 percent construction unemployment rate, had the second lowest rate in June. This was down from the lowest rate in May. It was the state’s second lowest estimated June rate after the 1.8 percent rate in June 2004.

Colorado and New Hampshire tied for third lowest June rate, with a 2.2 percent construction unemployment rate. It was the state’s second lowest June rate (matching June 2001’s 2.2 percent rate) since the 1.5 percent rate in June 2000.

New Hampshire catapulted to third from 17th lowest rate in May. Its rate is the state’s lowest June construction unemployment rate since the estimates began in 2000. Also, the Granite State had the fifth largest monthly decline, down 1.9 percent.

North Dakota, with a 2.3 percent rate, had the fifth lowest rate in June. Indiana and Iowa dropped out of the top five in June, with unemployment rates of 2.8 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.

The Bottom Five States
The states with the highest NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest to highest rates were:
47. Alabama and Connecticut (tied), 6.8 percent
48. Mississippi, 7.2 percent
49. Alaska, 7.3 percent
50. New Mexico, 9.1 percent

Three of these states—Alaska, New Mexico and Mississippi—were also among the five states with the highest construction unemployment rates in May. New Mexico had the highest estimated NSA construction unemployment rate in June, 9.1 percent.

Alaska had the second highest rate in June at 7.3 percent, marking the end of nine straight months with the highest rate in the nation. The state posted the largest monthly rate drop from May in the country (down 3.9 percent).

Mississippi had the third highest estimated NSA construction unemployment rate in June, 7.2 percent. On the positive side, it was the state’s second lowest June construction unemployment rate since the beginning of the estimates in 2000, behind last year’s 6.5 percent rate.

Alabama and Connecticut had the fourth highest rate in June, 6.8 percent. Alabama had the largest monthly increase in the nation, up 1.1 percent. Nevertheless, it was Alabama’s lowest June rate since the 5.6 percent rate in June 2007. Although Connecticut’s rate was up from last June’s 5.9 percent rate (the fifth largest year-over-year increase—up 0.9 percent), June’s 6.8 percent was the state’s second lowest June construction unemployment rate since the 6.6 percent rate in 2007.

Missouri, which tied with Mississippi for the fourth highest rate in May, improved to the 19th highest rate in June. The state’s 3.4 percent rate drop from May was the second largest in the country.
About ABC
Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national construction industry trade association established in 1950 that represents more than 21,000 members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 70 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. Visit us at