Chart Book, May 2010

Construction

Figure 24

Most of the largest construction occupations were the construction trades occupations.

Employment and hourly mean wages for the largest construction occupations, May 2010

  • The largest occupation, construction laborers, had the lowest wage among the occupations shown.
  • The six occupations shown accounted for over 63 percent of employment in construction and extraction occupations.
  • Of the largest construction occupations, the occupation with the highest mean wage was first-line supervisors of construction and extraction workers.

Figure 25

The highest paid construction occupations were specialized construction trades workers or their supervisors.

Construction occupations with the highest
mean wages, May 2010

  • Construction and extraction workers earned an average of $21.09 in May 2010.
  • Electricians was the largest high-paying construction occupation, with more than half a million workers. Pile driver operators was the smallest of the high-paying construction occupations, with only 4,230 workers.
  • Three of the occupations in figure 25 were also among the largest construction occupations—first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers; electricians; and plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters.

Figure 26

Employment for the largest occupations in the building construction industry was distributed differently between nonresidential and residential building construction.

Employment of the largest occupations in the building
construction industry, May 2010

  • Construction occupations accounted for 64 percent of employment in residential building construction and 62 percent of employment in nonresidential building construction.
  • Carpenters made up almost half of the employment for construction occupations in residential building construction, but accounted for less than a third in nonresidential building construction.
  • First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers and construction managers were more prevalent in nonresidential building construction, accounting for about 4 percentage points more of the employment for construction occupations than in residential building construction.

Figure 27

Mean wages were consistently higher in nonresidential building construction than residential building construction.

Mean hourly wages of the largest occupations in the building
construction industry, May 2010

  • The mean wage for construction occupations was $19.55 in residential building construction, compared with $22.64 in nonresidential building construction.
  • Cost estimators had the largest nominal difference in mean wages, with a $4.74 spread between nonresidential and residential building construction.
  • Carpenters had the largest percent difference in mean wages between nonresidential and residential building construction at 17.6 percent.

Figure 28

Employment decreased in 40 of the 46 construction occupations between May 2006 and May 2010.

Construction occupations with the largest percent decrease in employment between May 2006 and May 2010

  • Four of the construction occupations with the largest percent decrease in employment between May 2006 and May 2010 were different types of helpers of construction trade workers.
  • Overall, employment for construction occupations decreased 25 percent between May 2006 and May 2010.
  • Employment for tapers and carpenter helpers fell by over 50 percent. Employment declined by 22,400 for tapers and 57,290 for carpenter helpers.
  • With a 37 percent decrease in employment, carpenters did not have as large of a percent decrease as the occupations shown, but did have the largest overall decrease in employment, declining by 365,580.
  • Wages for the occupations shown grew near the average wage growth for construction occupations. Wages for construction occupations grew 11 percent between 2006 and 2010, slightly lower than the average occupational growth of 13 percent.

Figure 29

The construction occupations that grew between May 2006 and May 2010 tended to be smaller occupations and were not related to new building construction.

Construction occupations with an increase in employment between May 2006 and May 2010

  • Employment for septic tank servicers and sewer pipe cleaners increased from 22,090 in May 2006 to 24,350 in May 2010.
  • Wage growth for most of the occupations in figure 29 ranged from 2.1 percent for mechanical insulation workers to 16.6 percent for rail-track laying and maintenance equipment operators.

Figure 30

Nevada had the largest percent decrease in employment of construction and extraction occupations from May 2006 to May 2010, and also had the largest increase in mean wages for them.

States with the largest percent decrease in employment of construction occupations from May 2006 to May 2010

  • In Nevada, mean wages for construction occupations had an increase of 27.8% or an annual average increase of 6.3 percent from May 2006 to May 2010.
  • California had the largest absolute decrease in employment of construction occupations between May 2006 and May 2010, falling from 815,510 to 485,120.
  • Carpenter helpers was one of the occupations with the largest declines in employment in all 10 of the states highlighted in figure 30.

Figure 31

Two states—North Dakota and Wyoming—had an increase in employment of construction occupations, attributable to increases in varying occupations.

States with an increase in employment of construction occupations from May 2006 to May 2010

  • In North Dakota, two occupations in particular contributed to increased employment of construction occupations. Employment for highway maintenance workers increased over 65 percent. The occupation with the largest absolute increase in employment was first- line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers.
  • Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators and electricians contributed to the increase in employment for Wyoming.

Figure 32

Pascagoula, MS, had a larger share of its employment in construction occupations than any other metropolitan area, with over three times the national average.

Location quotients? for construction occupations in
Pascagoula, MS, May 2010

  • The concentration of employment for every construction occupation in Pascagoula, MS, was higher than the U.S. average, with the exception of highway maintenance workers.
  • At $19.07, the mean wage for construction occupations in Pascagoula, MS, was below the U.S. average of $21.09.
  • Of the occupations in figure 32, only one occupation had a higher-than-average mean wage: helpers—pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters.

Figure 33

San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA, had the highest mean wage ($30.13) in May 2010 for construction and extraction workers.

Construction occupations in the San Francisco-San Mateo-
Redwood City, CA, metropolitan division with mean wages
at least 55 percent higher than average, May 2010

  • Carpenter helpers and floor sanders and finishers in San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City earned almost twice the national average wage for their occupation.
  • Most occupations with the highest wage premiums were construction trades occupations. With the exception of carpenter helpers, most helper occupations had a below average premium.
  • Although wages for construction occupations were higher, on average, in the San Francisco- San Mateo-Redwood City, CA, metropolitan division, employment in construction occupations was below average. Nationwide, construction occupations accounted for 4 percent of employment, compared with 3 percent in San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City.

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Last Modified Date: October 24, 2011