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Industry unemployment falls in all 50 states; Wisconsin at 3.4 percent

Construction unemployment fell in Wisconsin and every other state in the country in July for the second time this year, according to a trade group’s analysis, showing that the industry remains in the grips of a labor shortage.

Wisconsin’s construction unemployment rate fell by 1.2 percentage points in July from what it was the previous year, dropping to 3.4 percent. Wisconsin’s rate for July was exactly the same as the average rate nationally, which fell by 1.5 percentage points from July 2017, according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data by the Associated Builders and Contractors.

The drop in unemployment means the construction industry had 303,000 more workers in July than it had a year before. The construction unemployment rate takes into account people who both are looking for work and had their last jobs in construction. The numbers are not seasonally adjusted, meaning they are best analyzed year-over-year.

Bernard Markstein, president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC, said July’s unemployment figures set a number of records. More than half of U.S. states — 27 — posted their lowest-ever construction unemployment rates. It was also the first time since August 2017 when all 50 states had construction-unemployment rates that were below 10 percent.

“Low July construction unemployment rates across the nation are the result of healthy construction activity, reflecting a tight construction labor market,” Markstein said. “A number of records were set this month. For the third time since January 2000, when the ABC state estimates begin, all 50-state construction unemployment rates fell on a year-over-year basis.

“The other two times were within the past eight months, in December 2017 and January 2018,” Markstein added. “Further, this is only the fourth time that the national construction NSA unemployment rate has fallen below the overall national NSA unemployment rate.”

About Nate Beck, [email protected]

Nate Beck is The Daily Reporter's construction staff writer. He can be reached at (414) 225-1814 (office) or 414-388-5635 (mobile).

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