6 Key Statistics to Know About the Construction Industry (and 8 Roles to Consider Within It)
As an essential driving force in the US economy, the construction industry is a bustling hub of activity, growth, and opportunity. With countless job opportunities spanning various roles and skill sets, this is a sector that never ceases to amaze.
From massive infrastructure projects to small-scale residential builds, construction plays a pivotal role in shaping our nation’s landscape and economy.
In this article, we’ll have a look at how the construction sector influences various other sectors, how many people are involved in it, and how diverse the work environment is. We’ll do this by dissecting some key construction industry statistics and projections in order to understand just how massive this segment actually is.
The State of the Construction Industry
According to Deloitte’s 2023 engineering and construction industry outlook, the US engineering and construction industry managed a strong recovery after causing a $60.9 million loss in GDP during the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the aforementioned study, construction spending registered an 8% growth in 2022, and specialists expect differentiated growth rates across a wide range of segments in 2023.
However, the growth is more likely to happen in the non-residential construction segment due to the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA)and the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022. The first one is a bill designed to boost public investments in infrastructure construction and maintenance jobs. The second one comes as a way to strengthen American manufacturing and supply chains by supporting budding sectors such as nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, or clean energy.
But while things are moving forward for the non-residential segment, residential construction companies are a bit more pessimistic. While the current housing crisis is a clear sign that Americans need more residential buildings, the inflation and supply chain issues continue to hinder progress on many projects.
Overall, the trend is moving upward, with other studies showing a clear increase in total construction in comparison to 2020. However, smaller contractors may need some financial planning advice to make it through 2023 without losing money.
Construction Industry Statistics on Workers
According to Statista, nearly 8 million Americans are employed in the construction industry during early 2023. This is the highest number of workers since the start of the pandemic, which shows that the industry is growing.
However, there is still an acute shortage of skilled construction workers, which puts many projects on hold. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a large number of construction workers are close to their retirement age, which leaves gaps that can’t be filled by young talent. Based on official data, the US needs half a million extra skilled workers to be able to keep up with current project demands.
Besides project delays, the lack of skilled workers can also lead to poor workmanship and increased risks for those who are on the job. But, on the bright side, the industry has to pay employees more and expand benefits to attract new workers.
So, for anyone interested in starting a lucrative career, the construction industry offers some great opportunities. Here are some of the most sought-after professionals in the industry and their average salaries:
Construction worker ($2,150/month) – this job is great for beginners as it involves manual labor and various tasks that don’t require any special education.
Flooring installer ($2,013/month) – installs carpets, floors, bases, and so on.
Glazier ($1,840/month) – a worker who cuts and installs glass for skylights, windows, or storefronts.
Brickmason ($3,700/month) – this person is in charge of decorative trims, patios, walkways, fences, and so on.
Ironworker ($2,500/month) – uses steel and iron to design structures for industrial, commercial, and public structures. These workers also work on bridges and other infrastructure projects.
Crane operator ($2,900/month) – operates cranes and other machinery on site to move large construction pieces.
Construction inspector ($2,700/month) – their main job is to make sure all the buildings and constructions follow zoning regulations, safety rules, and building codes.
Safety manager ($5,800/month) – their job is to make sure safety regulations are followed on-site and that every employee respects work protocols to minimize the risk of accidents.
In summary, based on construction industry statistics, the segment offers great opportunities for both beginners and experienced workers. Plus, as a beginner, you can always climb up the ladder through certifications and training on the job. This means that, within a few years of starting your career, you can increase your salary and your skills and experience.
Construction Industry Statistics for Contractors
While big contractors are scrambling to find workers, this opens new doors for small contractors and companies interested in taking on larger projects. Small contractors are often local businesses that work residential construction jobs, but with the right workers and tech, they can participate in commercial projects as well.
Plus, as various technologies develop, construction companies and contractors adopt digital technologies as a means to cope with the lack of personnel. For instance, more contractors use contractor management solutions to run their businesses and manage projects. This cuts down the time spent on administrative tasks and allows them to focus more on construction jobs.
Overall, the data shows that there’s an impending need for digital transformation in the construction industry. Companies that are already using digital technologies show faster progress and can take on new and improved business opportunities compared to their peers, who are still struggling to implement tech tools into their daily workflow.
Sadly, there are still small contractors who struggle with accepting digital technology as part of their system. According to InsideAdvisorPro, it’s important to learn how to develop your local business and how to make full use of the tech tools available on the market.
Construction Industry Projections on Technology
In construction, you’re constantly facing pressure to deliver high-quality projects on time and within budget. Though some external factors may be out of your control, adopting new technologies can help increase visibility and tackle process inefficiencies.
So, based on the data provided by the 2023 Deloitte survey, over 50% of respondents said they’d likely invest in digital technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and Building Information Modeling (BIM) within the next year.
Moreover, the Advanced Digital Construction Management Systems (ADCMS) and the Technology and Innovation Deployment Program (TIDP), two initiatives launched by the aforementioned IIJA, will provide around $550 million for using digital tech in government-funded projects.
With these initiatives in place, we should expect more focus on research and development in areas like highways, transportation, and even industrial sectors such as energy, mining, and metals.
Plus, around 44% of the Deloitte survey respondents have already expressed interest in investing in advanced technologies.
This might include devices and tech, such as:
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to analyze real-time data, reduce construction time, and cut costs (among others).
Sensors to ensure the safety of everyone on-site and ensure optimum working conditions
Internet of Things (IoT) devices to improve communication and help transmit information at faster speeds.
Robotics to perform dangerous jobs and repetitive tasks
Immersive collaboration tools to keep the communication lines open between workers, engineers, architects, inspectors, and everyone else involved in a construction project.
Smart clothing and wearables to increase workers’ safety on-site
Drones to monitor construction sites and perform dangerous jobs such as high-altitude building inspections.
Autonomous heavy equipment that can perform difficult jobs such as digging, grading, and more. These machines don’t need a human operator and are guided with the help of GPS, sensors, and drones.
Improved building materials such as self-healing concrete or algae-infused panels. These are more durable than current building materials and more environmentally friendly.
All these tech tools can help construction businesses work better and more effectively, even with the current worker shortage crisis. Still, change doesn’t come easy in this industry, and tech tools are not always reliable. Plus, it’s also a matter of leadership style – if the top brass is interested in staying ahead of the competition, change will come at a faster rate.
What’s Next for the Construction Industry?
Based on the current construction industry statistics, the industry is on an upward trend. However, there is a clear difference in growth between commercial and residential projects. For now, the US government puts a lot more focus on boosting commercial projects, especially infrastructure-related ones.
But, with more Baby Boomers on the verge of retirement, the industry is facing a shortage of skilled workers. As a direct result, wages have increased, which means that most construction projects will go over budget in the near future.
Still, if construction companies and contractors open up toward technology and embrace its advancement in the industry, the workers’ shortage may not be such a big problem in the near future. Of course, this doesn’t mean that tech tools will replace human workers. It’s just that, with the use of technology, companies can plan their projects better and ensure better working conditions.
Overall, the industry is expected to continue growing at a fast rate in the following years.
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