Construction Chart Book

Construction Chart Book (6th edition) Main Findings

  • As of 2012 (the latest year for which data are available), 80% of the approximately 3 million construction establishments had no employees (or were non-employers, such as sole proprietorships; see page 2).
  • More than 80% of construction establishments with employees (or payroll) had fewer than 10 employees (see page 2).
  • In 2015, the construction industry contributed 4.1% to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product, compared to 3.5% in 2010 (see page 4).
  • By 2015, construction employment recovered to 9.9 million from 8.9 million in 2012, though it remained 2 million short of the peak of 11.8 million in 2007 (see page 20).
  • The unemployment rate in construction dropped from a peak of 27.1% in February 2010, to 7.5% by the end of 2015, the lowest level since 2007 (see page 20).
  • About 1.2 million construction workers were union members in 2016, 100,000 more than that in 2015. In the Heavy Civil/Industrial sector, union market share reached 42% to 50% (see page 12).
  • Between 1985 and 2015, the average age of construction workers jumped from 36.0 to 42.5 years, exceeding the average age for all industries (see page 13).
  • In 2015, about 2.4 million construction workers were foreign-born, accounting for nearly a quarter (24.7%) of the construction workforce; of these, the majority (84.3%) were from Latin America (see page 15).
  • The number of Hispanic construction workers increased to 2.8 million in 2015 from 2.2 million in 2010, close to its peak of 3.0 million in 2007 (see page 16).
  • In 2015, 2.4 million construction workers were self-employed; the proportion of unincorporated self-employed workers in construction decreased from 19% in 2010 to 16% in 2015 (see page 22).
  • Between 2010 and 2016, 35 states passed legislation preventing worker misclassification and increasing penalties for violations (see page 22).
  • There were 144,583 active apprentices in construction in fiscal year 2016, accounting for more than 70% of the total in all industries (see page 30).
  • Construction is expected to add nearly 800,000 wage-and-salary jobs between 2014 and 2024, double the rate projected for the overall economy (13% versus 6.5%; see page 31).
  • In 2015, only a third (33.7%) of Hispanic construction workers had health insurance through their employment, while the percentage was 56.3% among their white, non-Hispanic counterparts (see page 26).
  • Just 27% of construction wage earners participated in employment-based retirement plans in 2015, down from 39% in 2000; among establishments with fewer than 10 employees, only 10% participated in retirement plans (see page 27).
  • Union members in construction have advantages in educational attainment, wage and fringe benefits, training, and longer employment tenures, compared with non-union workers (multiple pages).
  • About 2.3 million workers are exposed to silica hazards in their workplaces.  The majority – an estimated 2 million – work in construction (see page 34).
  • In 2016, among 6,160 cases with elevated blood lead levels (BLLs ≥10 μg/dL) throughout all industries identified by the NIOSH ABLES program, 20% were in the construction industry (see page 36).
  • In 2015, fatal injuries in construction increased to 985 deaths from a low of 781 deaths in 2011; the nonfatal cases resulting in days away from work (DAFW) increased from 76,000 to 80,000 in this time period, partly reflecting construction employment growth during the economic recovery (see pages 20 and 38). However, the overall rates for both fatal and nonfatal injuries in construction were downward since 1992 (see page 38).
  • Between 1992 and 2015, 7,235 deaths (42% of deaths among wage-and-salary construction workers) occurred in establishments with 10 or fewer employees, although less than 30% of construction workers were employed in such establishments (see page 40).
  • North Dakota, which was experiencing a boom in the energy extraction sector, had the highest fatal injury rate in the U.S. (41.5 deaths per 100,000 FTEs) in the period of 2011-2015(see page 40).
  • The fatality rate for Hispanic workers in construction remained higher than their white, non-Hispanic counterparts, but the difference between the two groups has reduced from 48% higher for Hispanic workers in1992-2002 to 9% higher in 2012-2015 (see page 41).
  • Electrical power-line installers had the highest rate of fatal injuries (67.1 deaths per 100,000 FTEs), but the rate has significantly declined since 1992 (149.3 deaths per 100,000 FTEs; see page 42).
  • The “Construction Focus Four” (four major causes of fatal injuries in construction: falls to lower level, being struck by an object or a vehicle, contact with electric current, and caught-in/between) claimed more than 70% of construction fatalities from1992 through 2015, an average of 745 lives per year (see page 43).
  • The number of deaths due to falls to a lower level reached 353 in 2015, a 36% increase from 2011. Between 2003 and 2015, a total of 4,439 construction workers died from falls to a lower level, about 341 deaths annually (see page 44).
  • In 2015, the rate of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) in construction was 34.6 per 10,000 FTEs, about 25% of its 1992 level. Yet, it was 16% higher than the rate (29.8 per 10,000 FTEs) for all industries (see page 48).
  • The prevalence of cigarette smoking in construction declined from nearly 33% in 2000 to less than 24% in 2015, but more than 50% higher than that (15%) among workers in all industries combined (see page 55).


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