December Construction Unemployment Rates Down in 46 States as Nation Posts Lowest December Rate in Record, Says ABC

HOUSTON – Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Houston (ABC), an association representing the interests of merit shop contractors and their employees, is pleased to report that the national construction unemployment rate was 5.9 percent in December 2017, down 1.5 percent from December 2016, according to an analysis released on January 31 by Associated Builders and Contractors of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data. In Texas, the unemployment rate dropped from 4.9 to 3.7 this past year. For a complete list of the latest state rankings, click here.

“Healthy construction activity throughout much of the country is supporting strong construction employment,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “The recovery and rebuilding efforts following 2017’s hurricanes, floods and wildfires continue to increase demand for workers, offsetting some of the usual seasonal reductions in construction employment. Many workers in cold-weather states who have experienced normal reduced demand for their services have moved to states where building and rebuilding continues.”

Because these industry-specific rates are not seasonally adjusted, national and state-level unemployment rates are best evaluated on a year-over-year basis. The monthly movement of the rates still provides some information, although extra care must be used in drawing conclusions from these movements.

For Texas, it was an improvement from being tied with Virginia for the eighth lowest rate in November. It was also the state’s lowest December rate on record, matching 2006’s 4.2 percent rate. The low unemployment rate of Texas defines the need for workforce development programs. The Houston chapter of ABC is at the forefront of attracting young people into the industry with our robust certified craft training programs in fifty-five high schools. ABC/CMEF works closely with school CTE directors to make sure the craft training provided is appropriate and will lead to a career in construction.

To learn more about ABC/CMEF and the workforce development training the association provides, visit

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national construction industry trade association representing more than 21,000 members nationwide. Locally, ABC Greater Houston was founded in 1969, and today serves several hundred commercial and industrial contractors, suppliers and construction associates in the Greater Houston area. Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Houston represents the interests of merit shop contractors and its employees in the policy-making process of the government, protects and enhances the free enterprise system within the construction industry, and provides educational, marketing, and informational programs for the benefit of members and their employees.

Construction & Maintenance Education Foundation (CMEF) is the vehicle through which industry and craft professionals in the Houston area receive formal training. Our goal is to recruit new entrants and retain existing workers through a variety of programs focused on assessment, training, and continuing education. We believe that a community approach to training is fundamental to developing a skilled and educated craft workforce within the entire industry.


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