US homebuilding drops in May, but pace stronger than in 2014 (copy)

A worker carries a load of lumber to a new home construction site in Mechanicsville, Virginia. Wisconsin private-sector construction jobs dropped by 4,000 in May according to preliminary, seasonally adjusted estimates.

PHOTO BY ASSOCIATED PRESS

Wisconsin lost 6,100 private-sector jobs in May according to preliminary estimates, pushing the state into the bottom half of the country in job growth rankings.

A gain of 38,200 private-sector jobs in the 12-month period ending in May gave Wisconsin 1.57 percent growth, 33rd among the 50 states.

It's the lowest ranking for the state since September, when Wisconsin was 36th in year-over-year job growth in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' seasonally adjusted Current Employment Statistics figures.

Of the 6,100 jobs lost in the state between April and May, 4,000 were in construction, a job sector that has enjoyed fairly stable growth. (See our interactive graphic showing job growth for specific sectors.)

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Wisconsin's unemployment rate grew to 4.6 percent; it was at 4.4 percent in April.

Todd D. Milewski covers Wisconsin Badgers men's hockey and the UW Athletic Department for the Wisconsin State Journal.