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Construction employment up in 9 Wisconsin metros

Construction employment rose in nine of Wisconsin’s 12 metropolitan statistical areas between May 2017 and May this year and remain unchanged in three.

Using non-seasonally adjusted numbers, the Associated General Contractors of America reported Tuesday that construction employment rose in the Appleton, Eau Claire, Fond du Lac, Janesville-Beloit, Madison, Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Racine, Sheboygan and Wausau areas between May 2017 and May 2018. It remained unchanged in the Green Bay, La Crosse-Onalaska and Oshkosh-Neenah areas.

Those numbers put Wisconsin in line with many other places in the country. Construction employment increased in 263 of all U.S. metropolitan statistical areas between May 2017 and May 2018, decreased in 47 and stayed unchanged in 48. In 63 areas, construction employment hit a record high for the month of May.

Still, AGC officials warned the industry’s labor shortage continues to weigh on contractors’ hiring efforts.

“As more cities hit new highs in construction employment and new lows in unemployment, the risk is growing that some projects will be delayed for lack of workers,” said Ken Simonson, AGC chief economist.

Meanwhile another industry group, the Associated Builders and Contractors, reported Tuesday that the construction industry’s unemployment rate was down in 45 states between May 2017 and May 2018, up in four and unchanged in one. In Wisconsin, the rate was 2.9 percent in May this year, down from 4.1 percent in May 2017.

On average nationally, the industry’s unemployment rate was at 4.4 percent in May.  The industry employment rate is calculated by taking into account people who had their last jobs in construction and who are now looking for work.

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