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Non-seasonally adjusted construction unemployment rates fell nationally and in 46 states from May 2018 to May 2019, according to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Three states experienced no change in unemployment rates, while Hawaii was the only state to see its construction unemployment rate increase.

The May unemployment rate fell 1.2% from 12 months ago to 3.2% and the industry employed 203,000 more workers nationally than it did in May 2018. The national unemployment rate also fell 1.5% from April to May, consistent with recent yearly patterns, according to ABC.

The states with the lowest estimated NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest to highest were:

  1. Vermont, 0.7%
  2. South Dakota, 0.8%
  3. Iowa, 0.9%
  4. Montana and Wyoming (tie), 1.1%

Three of these states—Iowa, South Dakota and Vermont—were in the top five in April. Vermont had the lowest construction unemployment rate in May, an improvement from fourth lowest rate in April. This was the state’s lowest May rate on record, matching the May 2018 rate.

The states with the highest estimated NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest to highest were:

  1. New Mexico, 5.5%
  2. Kentucky, 6.2%
  3. Missouri, 6.3%
  4. Alaska and Mississippi (tie), 6.6%

All of these states except for Missouri were also in the bottom five in April. Alaska and Mississippi had the highest estimated construction unemployment rate. For Alaska, it was the third month in a row that it had the highest rate. It was the state’s lowest May rate since the 5.2% rate in 2002. For Mississippi, this ranking compared to second highest rate in April. Nevertheless, it was Mississippi’s lowest May rate on record. Alaska had the largest drop in its rate from April among the states, down 5.3%, while Mississippi had the third largest decline, down 3.6%.

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