Hurricane recovery sends construction unemployment to record low

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Updated Dec 5, 2017

Oct 2017 State Construction Unemployment RatesU.S. construction unemployment tied a record low in October, at 4.5 percent, with recovery from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and other disasters appearing to lead the jobs increase, according to Associated Builders and Contractors.

The last time construction unemployment reached 4.5 percent in October was in 2006, the ABC says.

The October 2017 rate was down 1.2 percent from a year ago, with 180,000 more workers employed than in October 2016.

“The need for construction workers as part of recovery and rebuilding efforts after this year’s devastating hurricanes, floods and wildfires is providing employment for workers who normally would be subject to seasonal layoffs,” says Bernard M. Markstein, president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC.

Several Northern states also saw rises or a leveling out in unemployment, which Markstein said was likely due to workers leaving those states to perform storm-recovery work.

Construction unemployment rates were down in 44 states on a year-over-year basis, up in five states and unchanged in South Dakota, ABC reports.


The Top 5 States

According to ABC, the states with the lowest estimated October not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rates, in order from lowest to highest, were:
1. Hawaii, 2 percent
2. Idaho, 2.3 percent
3. Colorado, 2.5 percent
4. Vermont, 2.7 percent
5. Iowa, 2.8 percent


The Bottom 5 States

The states with the highest October NSA construction unemployment rates, in order from lowest to highest, were:
46. Pennsylvania, 6.4 percent
47. New Jersey, 6.5 percent
48. Illinois, 7.1 percent
49. New Mexico, 8.4 percent
50. Alaska, 15 percent