Tag Archive for 'roads'
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Trip Report Identifies 125 California Transportation Projects Needed To Support Economic Growth,But Many Face A Funding “Red” Or “Yellow” Light; State Needs To Complete Critical Transportation Projects To Improve Highway And Transit Network
Forty-two of the 125 transportation improvements identified by TRIP as being the most needed in California have Trip Report Identifies 125 California Transportation Projects Needed To Support Economic Growth, received a red light because they are unfunded and 69 of the projects have earned a yellow light because they only have partial funding available, jeopardizing the region’s future quality of life due to an inadequate transportation system. These transportation projects would support the state’s future development by improving access, safety and conditions according to a new report released recently by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.
TRIP rated each needed transportation improvement as either having a green light, a yellow light or a red light in terms of the availability of funding, with a green light indicating that adequate funding was available. The report finds that more than one-third of the 125 most needed transportation projects in California have earned a red light because funding is not currently available and, under current funding, is not anticipated to be available through 2020. More than half of needed transportation projects in the state have earned a yellow light because only a portion of needed funding is anticipated to be available by 2020 or the funding is uncertain. Only 14 of the state’s most needed transportation projects have a green light, to signify that full funding is likely to be available or is anticipated to be available by 2020.
“The TRIP Report highlighting important unfunded transportation projects in the San Francisco Bay area underscores the vital need for legislative action on a transportation revenue package to support a growing population and a robust economy,” said Will Kempton, executive director of Transportation California.
TRIP has identified needed projects in the Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco urban areas, as well as projects outside those urban areas. The transportation improvements outside the state’s largest urban areas, as determined by TRIP, which are the most needed to support quality of life and development goals, and their funding status are listed in the following table. Information on projects can be found in the report’s appendices: Appendix A – Los Angeles, Appendix B – San Diego, Appendix C – San Francisco, Appendix D – Sacramento and Appendix E – projects outside largest urban areas .
The TRIP report also found that California continues to experience significant growth, with the state’s population increasing by 16 percent since 2000 to 39 million, Gross State Product increasing by 27 percent since 2000, when adjusted for inflation, and statewide vehicle miles of travel increasing by 5.3 percent from 2014 to 2015. More than half – 51 percent – of major urban roads in California have pavements in poor condition, eight percent of bridges in California are rated structurally deficient and the traffic fatality rate on California’s rural non-interstate roadways is nearly four-and-a-half times higher than on all other roads and highways in the state, the report found.
Turning the red and yellow lights, which many of the region’s most critically needed transportation improvements currently face, to green lights, will require increased transportation investment at the local, state and federal levels.
Signed into law in December 2015, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, provides modest increases in federal highway and transit spending available to states, allows states greater long-term funding certainty and streamlines the federal project approval process. But the FAST Act does not provide adequate funding to meet the nation’s need for highway and transit improvements and does not include a long-term and sustainable funding source.
“Giving a green light to critically needed transportation projects in the Los Angeles area and throughout the state is going to require increased funding from all levels of government,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Unfortunately, too many of these transportation projects are facing yellow or red lights and potential state funding cuts could slow their progress even more.”
To review the entire TRIP California report or the various segments visit http://www.tripnet.org
Deficient, Congested Roadways Cost Wisconsin Drivers As Much As $2,072 Annually, A Total Of $6 Billion Statewide. Costs Will Rise And Transportation Woes Will Worsen Without Increased Funding
Roads and bridges that are deficient, congested or lack desirable safety features cost Wisconsin motorists a total of $6 billion statewide annually – as much as $2,072 per driver in the state’s larger urban areas – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays. Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could relieve traffic congestion, improve road, bridge and transit conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in Wisconsin, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.
The TRIP report, “Wisconsin Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Wisconsin, 42 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads are in mediocre to poor condition and another 39 percent are in fair condition. Fourteen percent of Wisconsin’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting significant amounts of time and fuel each year. And 2,743 people were killed annually in crashes on Wisconsin’s roads from 2011 to 2015, with traffic fatalities increasing 13 percent in 2015 to 556 from 494 in 2014.
Driving on deficient roads costs each Milwaukee area driver $2,060 per year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays, and the costs of traffic crashes in which roadway features likely were a contributing factor. Drivers in the Madison urban lose an average of $2,072 annually as a result of driving on deficient roads. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area along with a statewide total is below.
The TRIP report finds that 56 percent of major roads in the Milwaukee urban area are in poor to mediocre condition, costing the average motorist an additional $861 each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear. Sixty-eight percent of major roads in Madison are in poor to mediocre condition, costing each driver $974 each year.
“An efficient transportation infrastructure with adequate capacity is the circulatory system of a healthy economy,” said Steve Baas, senior vice president for governmental affairs and public policy at the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC). “Road congestion throughout our region clogs the arteries of commerce and threatens the life and health of our business climate.”
Traffic congestion in the Milwaukee area is worsening, causing 38 hours of delay a year for the average motorist and costing each driver $987 annually in lost time and wasted fuel. The average Madison driver loses 36 hours annually as a result of congestion, while the annual cost of lost time and wasted fuel for each Madison driver is $911.
A total of 14 percent of Wisconsin’s bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet modern design standards. Nine percent of Wisconsin’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional five percent of the state’s bridges are functionally obsolete, which means they no longer meet modern design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment. In the Milwaukee urban area, six percent of bridges are structurally deficient and 24 percent are functionally obsolete. Nine percent of Madison area bridges are structurally deficient, while nine percent are functionally obsolete.
Wisconsin’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.84 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.08. The state’s rural roads have a traffic fatality rate that is more than double than the rate on all other roads in the state (1.24 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel versus 0.54). TRIP estimates that roadway features may be a contributing factor in approximately one-third of fatal traffic crashes.
The efficiency and condition of Wisconsin’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $264 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Wisconsin and another $236 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Wisconsin, mostly by truck.
“These conditions are only going to get worse if greater funding is not made available at the local, state and federal levels,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Without additional transportation funding Wisconsin transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested, the state will miss out on opportunities for economic growth and quality of life will suffer.”
BY THE NUMBERS:
Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and
Ten Key Transportation Numbers in Wisconsin
|Driving on deficient roads costs Wisconsin motorists a total of $6 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.|
Madison: $2,072 Milwaukee: $2,060
|TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in Wisconsin’s largest urban areas in the form of additional VOC, congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. The average Madison area driver loses $2,072 annually, while each Milwaukee area driver loses $2,060.|
|A total of 2,743 people were killed in Wisconsin traffic crashes from 2011 to 2015. The number of traffic fatalities increased by approximately 13 percent between 2014 and 2015, increasing by 62 deaths from 494 to 556.|
|2 X||The fatality rate on Wisconsin’s non-interstate rural roads is more than double that on all other roads in the state (1.24 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.54).|
|Statewide, 42 percent of Wisconsin’s major roads are in mediocre to poor condition. Sixty-eight percent of major roads in the Madison urban area are in mediocre to poor condition, while in the Milwaukee urban area 56 percent of major roads are in mediocre to poor condition.|
|Annually, $264 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Wisconsin and another $236 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Wisconsin, mostly by truck.|
|A total of 14 percent of Wisconsin bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards. Nine percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and five percent are functionally obsolete.|
|The average driver in the Madison area loses 36 hours to congestion annually, while each driver in the Milwaukee urban area loses 38 hours annually.|
|A recent analysis by WisDOT found that the average Wisconsin motorists pays $274 annually in state and local registration-related fees and gas taxes, a level ranked 33rd nationally among states.|
|1,393,428 full-time jobs in Wisconsin in key industries like tourism, retail sales, agriculture and manufacturing are completely dependent on the state’s transportation infrastructure network. These workers earn $54.8 billion in wages and contribute an estimated $10 billion in state and local income, corporate and unemployment insurance taxes and the federal payroll tax.|
Eight years after the nation suffered a significant economic downturn, Wisconsin’s economy continues to rebound. The rate of economic growth in Wisconsin, which will be greatly impacted by the reliability and condition of the state’s transportation system, continues to have a significant impact on quality of life in the Badger State.
An efficient, safe and well-maintained transportation system provides economic and social benefits by affording individuals access to employment, housing, healthcare, education, goods and services, recreation, entertainment, family, and social activities. It also provides businesses with access to suppliers, markets and employees, all critical to a business’ level of productivity and ability to expand. Reduced accessibility and mobility – as a result of traffic congestion, a lack of adequate capacity, or deteriorated roads, highways, bridges and transit facilities – diminishes a region’s quality of life by reducing economic productivity and limiting opportunities for economic, health or social transactions and activities.
With an economy based largely on agriculture, food, paper and beverage production, manufacturing, health care, education and tourism, the quality of Wisconsin’s transportation system plays a vital role in the state’s economic growth and quality of life.
In this report, TRIP looks at the top transportation numbers in Wisconsin as the state addresses its need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways, bridges and transit.
In December 2015 the president signed into law a long-term federal surface transportation program that includes modest funding increases and allows state and local governments to plan and finance projects with greater certainty through 2020. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) provides approximately $305 billion for surface transportation with highway and transit funding slated to increase by approximately 15 and 18 percent, respectively, over the five-year duration of the program. While the modest funding increase and certainty provided by the FAST Act are a step in the right direction, the funding falls far short of the level needed to improve conditions and meet the nation’s mobility needs and fails to deliver a
COST TO WISCONSIN MOTORISTS OF DEFICIENT ROADS
An inadequate transportation system costs Wisconsin motorists a total of $6 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.
- TRIP estimates that Wisconsin roadways that lack some desirable safety features, have inadequate capacity to meet travel demands or have deteriorated pavement conditions cost the state’s residents approximately $6 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear), the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion, and the financial cost of traffic crashes.
- TRIP has calculated the average cost to drivers in the state’s largest urban areas as a result of driving on roads that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features. The chart below details the costs to drivers statewide and in the Madison and Milwaukee urban areas.
POPULATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN WISCONSIN
The rate of population and economic growth in Wisconsin have resulted in increased demands on the state’s major roads and highways, leading to increased wear and tear on the transportation system.
- Wisconsin’s population reached approximately 5.8 million residents in 2015, an eight percent increase since 2000.
- Wisconsin had 4.2 million licensed drivers in 2014.
- Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Wisconsin increased by five percent from 2000 to 2014 –from 57.3 billion VMT in 2000 to 60.1 billion VMT in 2014.
- Vehicle miles of travel in Wisconsin in 2015 were 4.2 percent higher than in 2014. U.S. vehicle miles of travel in 2015 were 3.5 percent higher than in 2014.
- By 2030, vehicle travel in Wisconsin is projected to increase by another 25 percent.
- From 2000 to 2014, Wisconsin’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 18 percent, when adjusted for inflation. U.S. GDP increased 24 percent during this time.
WISCONSIN ROAD CONDITIONS
A lack of adequate state and local funding has resulted in more than two-fifths of major locally and state-maintained roads and highways in Wisconsin having pavement surfaces in mediocre to poor condition, providing a rough ride and costing motorists in the form of additional vehicle operating costs.
- The pavement data in this report, which is for all arterial and collector roads and highways, is provided by the Federal Highway Administration, based on data submitted annually by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways in the state.
- Pavement data for Interstate highways and other principal arterials is collected for all system mileage, whereas pavement data for minor arterial and all collector roads and highways is based on sampling portions of roadways as prescribed by FHWA to insure that the data collected is adequate to provide an accurate assessment of pavement conditions on these roads and highways.
- Statewide, 42 percent of Wisconsin’s major locally and state-maintained roads and highways are in mediocre to poor condition, while 39 percent are in fair condition and 19 percent are in good to excellent condition.
- Roads rated in mediocre to poor condition may show signs of deterioration, including rutting, cracks and potholes. In some cases, these roads can be resurfaced, but often are too deteriorated and must be reconstructed.
- The chart below details pavement conditions on major locally and state-maintained urban roads in the Madison and Milwaukee urban areas:
- Driving on rough roads costs Wisconsin motorists a total of $3.2 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. The average driver in the Madison urban area loses $974 annually, while in the Milwaukee urban area the average driver loses $861 each year as a result of driving on deteriorated roads. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
WISCONSIN BRIDGE CONDITIONS
Fourteen percent of locally and state-maintained bridges in Wisconsin show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment. This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length.
- Nine percent of Wisconsin’s bridges are structurally deficient. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency services vehicles.
- Five percent of Wisconsin’s bridges are functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.
- The chart below details bridge conditions statewide and in the Madison and Milwaukee urban areas:
HIGHWAY SAFETY AND FATALITY RATES IN WISCONSIN
Improving safety features on Wisconsin’s roads and highways would likely result in a decrease in the state’s traffic fatalities and serious crashes. It is estimated that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of all fatal and serious traffic crashes.
- A total of 2,743 people were killed in Wisconsin traffic crashes from 2011 to 2015.
- The number of traffic fatalities in Wisconsin increased by approximately 13 percent between 2014 and 2015, increasing by 62 deaths from 494 to 556.
- Wisconsin’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.84 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2014 was lower than the national average of 1.08.
- The fatality rate on Wisconsin’s non-interstate rural roads in 2014 was more than double that on all other roads in the state (1.24 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.54).
- The chart below details the average number of fatalities from 2012 to 2014 in the Madison and Milwaukee areas, and the average cost per driver as a result of traffic crashes.
- Roadway features that impact safety include the number of lanes, lane widths, lighting, lane markings, rumble strips, shoulders, guard rails, other shielding devices, median barriers and intersection design. The cost of serious crashes includes lost productivity, lost earnings, medical costs and emergency services.
- Several factors are associated with vehicle crashes that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway features. TRIP estimates that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of fatal traffic crashes.
- Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and crashes while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion. Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; improved lighting; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; and better road markings and traffic signals.
- Investments in rural traffic safety have been found to result in significant reductions in serious traffic crashes. A 2012 report by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) found that improvements completed recently by the Texas Department of Transportation that widened lanes, improved shoulders and made other safety improvements on 1,159 miles of rural state roadways resulted in 133 fewer fatalities on these roads in the first three years after the improvements were completed (as compared to the three years prior). TTI estimates that the improvements on these roads are likely to save 880 lives over the next 20 years.
WISCONSIN TRAFFIC CONGESTION
Increasing levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in Wisconsin, particularly in its larger urban areas, choking commuting and commerce. Traffic congestion robs commuters of time and money and imposes increased costs on businesses, shippers and manufacturers, which are often passed along to the consumer.
- Based on Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) estimates, the value of lost time and wasted fuel in Wisconsin is approximately $1.7 billion per year.
- According to TTI, the average driver in the Madison urban area loses $911 each year in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion. The average Madison commuter wastes 36 hours each year stuck in traffic.
- According to TTI, the average driver in the Milwaukee urban area loses $987 each year in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion. The average Milwaukee commuter wastes 38 hours each year stuck in traffic.
- Increasing levels of congestion add significant costs to consumers, transportation companies, manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers and can reduce the attractiveness of a location to a company when considering expansion or where to locate a new facility. Congestion costs can also increase overall operating costs for trucking and shipping companies, leading to revenue losses, lower pay for drivers and employees, and higher consumer costs.
TRANSPORTATION FUNDING IN WISCONSIN
Investment in Wisconsin’s roads, highways and bridges is funded by local, state and federal governments. The recently approved five-year federal surface transportation program includes modest funding increases and provides states with greater funding certainty, but falls far short of providing the level of funding needed to meet the nation’s highway and transit needs. The bill does not include a long-term and sustainable revenue source.
- According to the 2015 AASHTO Transportation Bottom Line Report, a significant boost in investment in the nation’s roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems is needed to improve their condition and to meet the nation’s transportation needs.
- AASHTO’s report found that based on an annual one percent increase in VMT annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges needs to increase 36 percent, from $88 billion to $120 billion, to improve conditions and meet the nation’s mobility needs, based on an annual one percent rate of vehicle travel growth. Investment in the nation’s public transit system needs to increase from $17 billion to $43 billion.
- The Bottom Line Report found that if the national rate of vehicle travel increased by 1.4 percent per year, the needed annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges would need to increase by 64 percent to $144 billion. If vehicle travel grows by 1.6 percent annually the needed annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges would need to increase by 77 percent to $156 billion.
TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN WISCONSIN
The efficiency of Wisconsin’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Businesses rely on an efficient and dependable transportation system to move products and services. A key component in business efficiency and success is the level and ease of access to customers, markets, materials and workers.
- 1,393,428 full-time jobs in Wisconsin in key industries like tourism, retail sales, agriculture and manufacturing are completely dependent on the state’s transportation infrastructure network. These workers earn $54.8 billion in wages and contribute an estimated $10 billion in state and local income, corporate and unemployment insurance taxes and the federal payroll tax.
- Annually, $264 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Wisconsin and another $236 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Wisconsin, mostly by truck.
- Eighty-two percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Wisconsin are carried by trucks and another 14 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
- Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system.
- Highway accessibility was ranked the number two site selection factor behind only the availability of skilled labor in a 2015 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.
- The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.
Sources of information for this report include the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U.S. Census Bureau, the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTS
Nonresidential construction spending dipped in February, falling 1.4 percent on a monthly basis according to analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Spending in the nonresidential sector totaled $690.3 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis in February. While this represents a step back from January’s figure of $700.3 billion (revised down from $701.9 billion), it is still 1.5 percent higher than the level of spending registered in December 2015 and 10.1 percent higher than February 2015.
“February’s weather was particularly harsh in certain parts of the country, including in the economic activity-rich Mid-Atlantic region, and that appears to have had an undue effect on construction spending data,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “February data are always difficult to interpret, and the latest nonresidential construction spending figures are no different. Seasonal factors have also made state-level data very difficult to interpret.
“Beyond meteorological considerations, there are other reasons not to be alarmed by February’s decline in nonresidential construction spending,” said Basu. ”Today’s positive construction employment report indicates continued economic growth. Moreover, much of the decline in volume was attributable to manufacturing, but the ISM manufacturing index recently crossed the threshold 50 level, indicating that domestic manufacturing is now expanding for the first time in seven months.”
Eight of the sixteen nonresidential subsectors experienced spending decreases in February, though almost half of the total decline in spending is attributable to the 5.9 percent decline in manufacturing-related spending.
The following 16 nonresidential construction sectors experienced spending increases in February on a monthly basis:
- Spending in the amusement and recreation category climbed 0.4 percent from January and is up 13.7 percent from February 2015.
- Lodging-related spending is up 0.4 percent for the month and is up 30.1 percent on a year-ago basis.
- Water supply-related spending expanded 1.9 percent on a monthly basis and 3.2 percent on a yearly basis.
- Spending in the office category grew 3.8 percent from January and is up 25.3 percent on a year-ago basis.
- Transportation-related spending expanded 0.5 percent month-over-month and 5.8 percent year-over-year.
- Health care-related spending expanded 2 percent from January and is up 3.3 percent from February 2015.
- Public safety-related spending is up 1.8 percent for the month, but is down 5.3 percent for the year.
- Commercial-related construction spending inched 0.1 percent higher for the month and grew 11 percent for the year.
Spending in eight of the nonresidential construction subsectors fell in February on a monthly basis:
- Educational-related construction spending fell 2.4 percent from January, but has expanded 8.5 percent on a yearly basis.
- Communication-related spending fell 15 percent month-over-month, but expanded 11.8 percent year-over-year.
- Spending in the highway and street category fell 2 percent from January, but is 24.5 higher than one year ago.
- Sewage and waste disposal-related spending fell 2.4 percent for the month, but is up 2.3 percent for the year.
- Conservation and development-related spending is 4.6 percent lower on a monthly basis and 16.8 percent lower on a year-over-year basis.
- Spending in the religious category fell 4 percent for the month and is up just 0.7 percent for the year.
- Manufacturing-related spending fell 5.9 percent on a monthly basis and is up only 0.8 percent on a yearly basis.
Spending in the power category fell 0.6 percent from January, but is 4.8 percent higher than one year ago.
Analysis by Bernard Markstein, Ph.D.
Temperatures remained above normal for much of the country in February. However, precipitation rates were also above normal for much of the East and below normal for much of the West and parts of the South. These factors contributed to the not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rates for the nation maintaining a low February rate of 8.7 percent, a slight rise from January’s similarly low 8.5 percent rate. It was also the second lowest February national construction unemployment rate going back to the beginning of the series in 2000, surpassed only by the 8.6 percent rate in February 2006.
The NSA construction unemployment rates for the country and 41 states were lower than in February 2015. February’s 1.9 percent year-over-year improvement continues the streak of year-over-year NSA construction unemployment rate declines dating back to October 2010. On a year-over-year basis, February national NSA employment in construction increased by 253,000.
Note that the NSA unemployment rates have a seasonal pattern with the national NSA construction unemployment rate often increasing from January to February. However, 22 states posted a decrease in their rate from January and two states (Florida and Kansas) had no change in their rate.
The Top Five States
The five states with the lowest construction unemployment rates in February in order from lowest rate to highest were:
* Unemployment rate is for construction, mining, and logging combined
Four states—Colorado, Georgia, Texas and Virginia—were also among the top five in January. Georgia, with a 4.8 percent estimated construction unemployment rate in February, had the lowest rate for the third consecutive month.
Colorado and Hawaii came in a close second with a 4.9 percent construction unemployment rate. Posting a one percent decline in its construction unemployment rate from January, Colorado improved from third lowest that month. Hawaii also experienced a drop in its rate from January—down 1.5 percent, the third largest monthly decline among the states. That moved Hawaii up from the sixth lowest rate in January, tied with North Carolina. Hawaii also had the second largest year-over-year drop in its rate, down 4.5 percent.
Virginia saw a reduction in its construction unemployment rate in January from 6.1 percent rate (based on revised data) to 5.3 percent in February. That left the state with the fourth lowest rate for the second month in a row.
Texas slid from second lowest in January to fifth lowest in February with a 5.7 percent construction unemployment rate. South Carolina, which had the fifth lowest rate in January, fell to seventh lowest, tied with Arizona with a 6.8 percent rate.
The Bottom Five States
The five states with the highest construction unemployment rates (from lowest to highest) were:
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
The five states with the highest estimated construction unemployment rates in February were the same as in January although some of the rankings changed.
As would be expected given that these are NSA rates, Alaska with an 18 percent rate in February had the highest rate for the sixth consecutive month. February’s rate was down 1.9 percent from Alaska’s January rate of 19.9 percent (based on revised data). A reduction in the February rate from January is somewhat common for Alaska, which has experienced a decline in ten of the previous 14 years.
West Virginia, with a 17.2 percent construction unemployment rate, had the second highest rate. In January, the state had the third highest rate based on revised data (previously reported as the second highest rate).
Rhode Island had the third highest February construction unemployment rate (15.7 percent). In January, the state had the fifth highest rate based on revised data (previously reported as tied with Illinois for fourth highest). The state had the largest year-over-year decline among the states in February (down 5.2 percent). The state has experienced improved construction activity for a number of months. As a result, the construction unemployment rate has fallen on a year-over-year basis each month starting in October 2014.
Wyoming had the fourth highest estimated construction unemployment rate for the second month in a row (15.4 percent). Its January ranking is based on revised data, previously reported with the sixth highest rate. No doubt reflecting the effects of the downturn in commodity prices in general and energy in particular, Wyoming had the largest year-over-year increase in its rate, up 5.5 percent.
North Dakota, another state suffering from the effects of the downturn in energy prices, posted the fifth highest construction unemployment rate in February, 14.9 percent rate. For the month, the state had both the second highest year-over-year increase (up 3.4 percent) and the second largest monthly decrease (down 1.7 percent). The monthly reduction in the state’s February construction unemployment rate has been the norm for North Dakota going back to 2001. Over most of this period, this was due to increased construction activity and, consequently, increased employment. This time, it is likely due to unemployed construction workers leaving the state for better prospects elsewhere.
Read more on ABC’s website.
Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) launched its state-by-state economic analysis in 2015 with the release of economist Bernard M. Markstein’s analysis of construction’s contribution to each state’s gross domestic product (GDP). Unique to ABC, Markstein’s monthly state-level construction unemployment rate estimate and analysis of state-level construction job markets is produced in addition to ABC’s existing national economic data and analysis.
Background on how the data was derived and Markstein’s methodology is available on ABC’s website. Markstein is also available for an interview to provide further analysis.