The construction industry is continually changing, based on market demands and the state of the economy. New construction is typically cut back when the economy is not expanding or interest rates are high. The construction industry includes companies which design, develop, construct or tear down structures as well as suppliers of construction materials. The industry also includes the maintenance, repair and improvements of these structures. The major construction sectors are commercial buildings, heavy construction and residential buildings.
The vast majority of building construction projects are small renovations. Although an important component, industrial construction is a relatively small part of the construction industry. The increasingly popular "green construction" involves making buildings energy efficient and environmentally friendly. McGraw-Hill Construction reports green construction accounted for one-third of all commercial real estate construction in 2010.
Construction Employment - Employer Reviews
- Acco Engineered Systems Careers
- Bechtel Bettis Careers
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- Construction Pipeline Careers
- Design Partners Inc Careers
- Dodge Reports Careers
- Dr Horton Careers
- Ebco Careers
- Golden State Framers Careers
- Hart Howerton Careers
- Hewitt Associates Careers
- Horst Group Careers
- KB Home Careers
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- Approximately 884,300 construction establishments in the United States in 2008: 557,000 specialty trade contractors, 269,700 building construction contractors; 57,600 heavy and civil engineering construction or highway contractors (Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS))
- The US residential real estate construction industry has approximately 170,000 construction establishments (single-location firms and branches of multi-location firms) with annual revenue of $260,000 billion (First Research, 2011)
- Of all the residences built in recent years, 70 percent are single family homes (First Research, 2011)
- The US commercial and heavy construction contractors industry has approximately 80,000 companies with industry annual revenue of $525 billion (First Research, 2011)
- In 2010, approximately $814.5 billion in new American construction was put in place (U.S. Bureau of the Census)
Construction Employment Background
Most people in the construction industry are construction trades workers, including master, journey and apprentice workers as well as construction laborers. Most construction workers are classified as structural, finishing or mechanical workers. The construction industry has a very large number of self-employed workers.
The construction industry provides a variety of career opportunities including jobs for managers, clerical workers, truck drivers, engineers, trade workers and construction helpers. Many workers enter the construction sector via apprentice training. People entering the industry right out of high school often begin as laborers, helpers or apprentices.
Construction Sector Employment Statistics
- 7.2 million wage and salary jobs in 2008
- 1.8 million self-employed and unpaid family workers in 2008
- Approximately 64 percent of wage and salary jobs in 2008 were in the specialty contractors sector, primarily in plumbing, heating and air-conditioning, electrical and masonry
- In 2008 about 23 percent of construction jobs were in residential and nonresidential building construction
- Approximately 61 percent of construction managers are self-employed
- About 32 percent of carpenters are self-employed
- Approximately 27 percent of brick masons, block masons and stone masons are self-employed
Source: The Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Construction Employment Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecast good job opportunities, particularly for experienced and skilled construction trade workers. The BLS forecasts a 19 percent employment growth from 2008 to 2018, compared to an 11 percent projected growth for all industries combined. The construction industry provides more opportunities than most other industries for people who desire to own and operate their own business.
Due to being the largest segment of the construction industry, specialty trades contracting is expected to provide the largest number of new construction jobs. Remodeling is expected to provide many new jobs due to a growing stock of old residential and nonresidential buildings. Increasingly, construction companies are contracting out services of specialty trade workers instead of keeping them on their payroll. Almost all construction trades are forecasted by the BLS to experience some growth.