According to the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) report in conjunction with the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the national construction unemployment rate dropped 2.6% in June compared to the same month last year. Forty-five states experienced decreases, though the rates have not rebounded back to pre-pandemic levels.
The numbers show a 233,000 increase in jobs since June 2020. Seasonally adjusted, this comes in at 238,000 below the February 2020 peak before the lockdown and subsequent layoffs.
The national construction unemployment rate sits at 7.5% (in February 2020, it was 5.5%).
“The widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines and the economy’s bounce-back are boosting the construction industry,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D. president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “The strength of the economic recovery will be tested in coming months by the delta variant and as the outflow of funds from the American Rescue Plan Act starts to dry up. Congress is working to address the nation’s long-standing need to repair and upgrade its infrastructure, and a qualified workforce will be necessary to get the infrastructure built. Yet a skilled workforce shortage persists. If a commonsense, bipartisan infrastructure bill is enacted into law, the economy, the construction industry, and the construction workforce will benefit.”
Forty-five states face unemployment rate drops. The states that currently have the lowest rates are Nebraska (1.4% the lowest on record), Idaho (1.8%), Utah (2%), Georgia (2.7%).
The states with the worst unemployment rates—and the rates which have increased—are California and West Virginia (tied at 11.3%), New York (12.3%), New Mexico (13.5%), and New Jersey (13.6%). These states sat at the bottom five in May.
Falling unemployment rates mean more laborers in the workforce. But a gap remains between the current numbers and that of the prior year.