Construction is an industry in Wisconsin that slows down significantly during the cold winter months.

Seasonality describes the change in employment levels according to the time of year. Although not all seasonal fluctuations are related to weather, there is a strong correlation between average temperatures in January and employment in specific industries by state. For example, construction and tourism slow down significantly in Wisconsin during cold weather months, and education employment slows down in the warmer summer months.

Seasonality has declined across almost all industries since 1960. For example, about 9.25 percent of nationwide variation in construction employment could be attributed to seasonality in 1960, as compared to 4.25 percent of the same in 2010. Leisure/tourism is one notable exception, with the proportion of employment explained by seasonality increasing from 2.38 in 1960 to 3.31 percent in 2010, perhaps because Americans travel more today than they have historically.

Rank the industries below from most to least seasonal in terms of the change in employment levels that can be explained by seasonality:

A) Construction

B) Education

C) Leisure/tourism

D) Retail

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E) Mining

Answer: A, C, D, E, B. Accounting for 105,000 Wisconsin jobs, 4.25 percent of employment in construction can be explained by seasonality. In comparison, 3.31 percent of variation in leisure/tourism employment*, 1.54 percent of variation in retail employment (168,000 Wisconsin jobs), 1.50 percent of variation in mining employment**, and 1.0 percent of variation in education employment (165,000 Wisconsin jobs) can be explained by seasonality.

* — Data not available

** — The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 470 mining jobs in Wisconsin. However, this doesn’t account for gravel and sand extraction.

Source: Geremew, Menelik & Gourio, Francois. (2018). Seasonal and business cycles of U.S. employment. Economic Perspectives 42(3). Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2018). May 2018 state occupational employment and wage estimates for Wisconsin.

— Kristin Runge, UW-Extension; kristin.runge@wisc.edu; Twitter @RungeKristin

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-- Kristin Runge, UW-Extension; kristin.runge@wisc.edu; Twitter @RungeKristin