Construction 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 Wednesday 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.

Arizona is ranked 33rd nationally with an unemployment improvement from 7.3 percent in March to 6.8 in April.

Arizona’s year over year improvement in construction unemployment was 35th nationally, just shy of reaching a one percent reduction at .9 percent.

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.