WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan 31.—December not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rates were down in 26 states and the nation on a year-over-year basis, according to analysis released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). The rates for two states, Iowa and Wisconsin, were unchanged from December 2015. The national NSA construction unemployment rate of 7.4 percent was down 0.1 percent from a year ago, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The national NSA construction unemployment rate has fallen from the previous year’s reading every month since October 2010. Since these industry-specific rates are not seasonally adjusted, it is most accurate to evaluate the national and state-level unemployment rates on a year-over-year basis.
“The ongoing year-over-year decline in the national unemployment rate is an indication of the health of the construction job market and its recovery from the deep recession it experienced,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “However, the growing shortage of skilled construction workers is hindering the ability of the sector to grow with more than 80 percent of Associated Builders and Contractors members reporting a shortage of appropriately skilled labor.”
This was the lowest national December NSA construction unemployment rate since December 2006 when the rate was 6.9 percent. Meanwhile, BLS data showed that the industry employed 97,000 more people than in December 2015.

The usual pattern for the change from November to December is an increase in the national NSA construction unemployment rate. Starting in 2000, when the BLS data for this series begins, the December rate has risen every year. This year’s 1.7 percent rate increase was no exception.

Only two states—Arizona and Hawaii—posted a decline in their estimated NSA construction unemployment rates from November.