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April Construction Unemployment Rates Improve in 44 States from 2015


WASHINGTON, D.C., June 1Construction employment rates improved in 44 states and the nation in April on a year-over-year basis, according to analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors. The not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rate of 6 percent was a 1.5 percent drop from April 2015, continuing a streak of consecutive monthly year-over-year rate declines that began in October 2010. National NSA employment in construction was 262,000 higher than in April 2015.
"Historically, April has been the month in which construction ramps up coming out of winter as the weather improves across the nation," said economist Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. "Since the start of the national NSA construction unemployment rate series in January 2000, every year the rate has declined in April from March. This year's fall of 2.7 percent was no exception." 
All but one state, Hawaii, posted a decrease in its estimated construction unemployment rate from March. All but two states—Alaska and New Mexico—had construction unemployment rates under 10 percent.
A number of the states that experienced significant declines in their estimated construction unemployment rates from March tend to have cold, snowy winters and consequently see a significant rebound in construction activity and employment as temperatures warm. A number of these states have small construction workforces, which means that small changes in the number of construction workers employed can lead to large changes in their construction unemployment rate.
The Top Five States
The five states with the lowest construction unemployment rates in April in order from lowest rate to highest were:
1. Nebraska
2. Iowa
3. Colorado and Idaho (tie)
5. Virginia
Nebraska, with a 2.5 percent estimated construction unemployment rate, had the lowest rate among the states in April, up from second lowest in March. Iowa jumped up to second from 15th place in March with a 2.7 percent rate, a 4.9 percent drop from March and 2.6 percent year-over-year. Colorado slipped to third with 3.4 percent, tied with Idaho, and Virginia had a 3.8 percent unemployment rate. 
The Bottom Five States
The five states with the highest construction unemployment rates (from lowest to highest) were:
46. Rhode Island
47. West Virginia
48. Illinois
49. New Mexico
50. Alaska
All of the five states with the highest estimated construction unemployment rates in April were the same as in March, although in a different order. Alaska continued to have the highest unemployment rate for the eighth month in a row with a 12 percent rate in April despite a 5.8 percent decline in its rate from March. New Mexico had the second highest construction unemployment rate at 10.2 percent; Illinois was third with 9.6 percent;  West Virginia was fourth with 9.5 percent; and Rhode Island was fifth at 9.4 percent. 
Read more on ABC's website.
Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) launched its state-by-state economic analysis in 2015 with the release of economist Bernard M. Markstein's analysis of construction's contribution to each state's gross domestic product (GDP). Unique to ABC, Markstein's monthly state-level construction unemployment rate estimates and analysis of state-level construction job markets are produced in addition to ABC's existing national economic data and analysis
Background on how the data was derived and Markstein's methodology is available on ABC's website. Markstein is also available for an interview to provide further analysis.


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