Florida Is Number One in Construction Unemployment Rates

Florida leads the nation in unemployment rates in the construction industry, at 2.4-percent unemployment. This is down from a year ago and is Florida’s lowest December rate on record, based on the Associated Builders and Contractors’ analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released Feb. 5.

“The construction industry is booming, especially here on the Gulf Coast of Florida,” said Steve Cona III, president and CEO of the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). “Everyone’s busy, in all phases of our industry. There aren’t enough people available to continue to work at this pace. People are looking for folks to come into the industry.”

The Florida economy is good, and people are in investing in Florida. There are increased opportunities because of the amount of work.  

“Talent is at a premium. Every niche of our industry is busy and could use more workers,” said Cona. “When talent is scarce, it drives up demand. You do see wages continue to increase during times when it’s hard to find people.”

ABC, which represents the merit-shop construction industry, advocates to make sure that the regulatory environment makes it easier for their companies to do business, which has helped drive the growth surge in Florida. 

A large portion of the Gulf Coast construction workforce has been trained through ABC’s certified apprenticeship programs, and ABC members have upskilled their employees through the association’s continuing education, management and safety programs.

“We need to continue to ride the wave,” Cona said, “and prepare ourselves in case things were to slow down a little bit. Companies are investing in the future of their workforce. They’re hiring people off the street and training them so they can replace the talent they have now as they age out of the industry. When they invest more on the front end during these times when things are good, it pays off later.”

For more about the calculation of unemployment rates and what they measure, see Background on State Construction Unemployment Rates. Other reports and indices are available at abc.org/economics.

Associated Builders and Contractors is a national construction industry trade association established in 1950 that represents more than 21,000 members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 69 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. Visit us at