America is failing in a vital category: the condition and performance of American infrastructure. The most recent American Infrastructure Report Card from the American Society of Civil Engineers currently gives the US a D+ in areas like public safety, condition and future improvement costs to roads, bridges and other transportation systems across the country. While drastic changes are required to improve the grade, one thing is for sure: construction workers are the backbone of building and maintaining America’s infrastructure.
Here are some numbers that give us a glimpse into the construction field.
The talent shortage is an ongoing industry challenge.
- The construction industry lost 2.3 million jobs between 2006 and 2011.
- 93 percent of construction firms plan to hire new hourly craft personnel, 75 percent plan to hire salaried field personnel and 72 percent plan to hire salaried officer workers in 2019, but 80 percent report having a hard time filling hourly positions and 56 percent report challenges filling salaried positions.
- In March 2019, there were approximately 360,000 job openings, a post-Great Recession high.
- Finding, retaining and developing talent was the second top organizational business challenge in 2018, increasing by 13% (35% in 2018 up from 22% in 2017 - the biggest year-over-year increase reported), behind managing costs (49%).
Who are America’s construction workers?
- The median construction worker age is 42. That’s a year older than a typical worker in the national labor force. States with the oldest median worker age (45) include Connecticut, Maine and New Hampshire, and the youngest median ages are located in Utah (under 38) and Nebraska and Texas (under 39).
- Of the 8.3 million construction workers employed in field production and extraction industries, only 3.4% were women, with the highest percentage as building inspectors (14%), painters (7.2%) and helpers (5.6%). The same data shows that the number of female construction managers grew to 7.7% in 2018, up from 5.9% in 2003.
- Commercial building contractors say the biggest industry myths are that construction jobs are “dirty” (61%), that jobs only require brute strength (55%) and that construction is a “job” versus a career (52%).
Workers face a number of safety and wellness challenges.
- The top three most frequently cited safety citations for 2018 were: fall protection, hazard communication and scaffolding.
- Out of 4,674 private industry worker fatalities in 2017, about 21 percent - or one in five - were in construction. The top four leading causes - falls, struck by object, electrocution and caught-in/between - were responsible for more than half of construction worker deaths.
- Other common health hazards include manual material handling, noise, air contaminants and high temperatures. More than half of workers reported they were regularly exposed to vapors, gas, dust or fumes at work twice a week or more. Almost three-quarters of workers were found to be exposed to noise levels above the recommended limit set by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Learn more about how to promote fleet safety for your on-road and off-road assets.
Sources: Tradesmen International, Associated General Contractors of America, National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), Teletrac Navman, NAHB in ForConstructionPros.com, Bureau of Labor Statistics in ConstructionDIVE, USG Corporation and US Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index in Contractor Magazine, OSHA, the American Industrial Hygiene Association Construction Committee.