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Wis. construction industry unemployment at 9.4 percent in Feb.

The Wisconsin construction industry’s unemployment rate came in at 9.4 percent in February, showing a 1.5 percentage point decrease from the same month last year.

Using non-seasonally adjusted numbers, the Associated Builders and Contractors reported the construction industry’s average unemployment rate throughout the country was 7.8 percent. That was down one percentage point from same month a year ago.

“Construction activity continues to be positive in much of the country, resulting in healthy demand for construction workers,” said Bernard M. Markstein, president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for the ABC. “Above-average February temperatures over much of the eastern part of the country, along with below-normal precipitation rates among several southeast and western states, were likely contributing factors to the industry’s good February performance.”

With its construction-unemployment rate of 9.4 percent, Wisconsin was neither among the states with the lowest rates nor among those with the highest. Because of its harsh winters, the state tends to see large numbers of construction workers laid off when it gets cold outside, meaning its unemployment numbers can fluctuate greatly from month to month. In August, for instance, the state industry’s unemployment rate was at 4.7 percent.

The ABC calculates the construction unemployment rate by looking at people who were last employed in the trades and are now looking for work. Its data go back to 2000.

The ABC’s unemployment report comes amid a labor shortage that has been holding the construction industry in its grips for years. Signs of a tight labor market continue to show up in other employment data.

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate for all industries, for instance, hit a record low in February, falling to 2.9 percent.

About Dan Shaw, dan.shaw@dailyreporter.com

Dan Shaw is the associate editor at The Daily Reporter. He can be reached at dan.shaw@dailyreporter.com or at 414-225-1807.

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