Construction unemployment rates improved in March with 298,000 new jobs added, according to Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).
Not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rates for the country and 30 states were 0.8 lower than in March 2015, marking five and a half years of consecutive monthly year-over-year rate declines. The state with the lowest construction unemployment rates in March was Colorado at 3.9 percent while Alaska recorded the highest rate at 19 percent.
“Historically, March has been the changeover month in which construction begins to pick up from the winter doldrums as the weather improves,” said economist Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “Since 2000, the March national construction unemployment rate was down from February every year except for two years. However, this past winter was not a normal winter.”
Markstein cited above-normal temperatures over a good part of the season in much of the country as a factor in the 8.7 percent national NSA construction unemployment rate in March, which was unchanged from February. Further, precipitation was above normal in parts of the Southwest and upper Midwest, resulting in record rain and significant flooding in some of these states.
The Top Five States
The five states with the lowest construction unemployment rates in March in order from lowest rate to highest were:
* Unemployment rate is for construction, mining, and logging combined
Arizona ranked fifteenth in March, increasing from 6.8 percent to 7.4 percent.
Colorado’s construction unemployment rate experienced a significant 3.2 percent drop from a year ago. In second place was Nebraska at 4.6 percent, down 2.2 percent from the previous month. In third place, Hawaii’s rate was 4.9 percent, followed by Georgia at 5.1 percent and Virginia at 5.7 percent. Texas dropped out of the top five in March, likely due to heavy rain.
The Bottom Five States
The five states with the highest construction unemployment rates (from lowest to highest) were:
46. North Dakota
47. New Mexico
49. West Virginia
In addition to having the highest construction unemployment rate at 19 percent, Alaska’s rate rose on a year-over-year basis for the third month in a row. West Virginia had the second highest rate at 15.5 percent despite a monthly rate decline of 1.6 percent, but the state’s rate was 1.7 percent higher year-over-year. Illinois had the third highest rate at 14.3 percent and a year-over-year increase of 2 percent, followed by New Mexico at 14.2 percent and North Dakota at 14.1 percent.