To remain at the top of your industry and compete for the best jobs, it is essential to stay informed of economic trends that could affect your work, as well as keep up to date with education and skills. If your industry happens to be construction, or your field closely works with it, consider these findings from a new analysis by CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists International, to learn about the highest areas of growth, where in the country these booms are occurring and how this industry affects the national economy.
The analysis uses EMSI’s extensive labor market database, which pulls from over 90 national and state employment resources and includes detailed information on employees and self-employed workers.
The industry at a glance
Beginning with an overview of the industry, U.S. construction employment is still behind pre-recession highs. However, many areas of the industry are reporting steady growth.
For instance, commercial and industrial building is outpacing residential construction. Also, heavy and civil engineering construction has been the fastest growing sector since 2011.
Looking at new building construction, jobs in the residential sector are projected to grow 3 percent from 2011 to the end of 2014, bringing total employment to about 1,038,000 jobs. Commercial building jobs, meanwhile, are projected to grow slightly faster at 4 percent, to about 764,000 jobs.
“It will be awhile before employment in construction reaches levels seen during the housing bubble, but recent job growth, particularly in residential remodeling and industrial construction, signal healthier consumer confidence and private-sector investment,” says Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder. “The industry is an important economic bellwether, as growth has positive ripple effects up and down supply chains. Fortunately, we’re seeing significant year-over-year increases in job listings on CareerBuilder across a range of titles, including laborers, building inspectors, carpenters and operating engineers.”
Residential vs. non-residential construction jobs
While job creation for residential and commercial building construction have been on similar paths since 2011, taking a closer look at each sector reveals divergent trends.
Also, among metro areas with a million or more residents, four California metros make the top ten for residential construction jobs. Austin, Texas, and Rochester, N.Y., meanwhile, are the only two metros to make the top ten for both new building construction sectors.
The remainder of 2014 is expected to see a decline of jobs in new single-family housing construction, as this sector has been projected to drop 14 percent over the 2011-2014 time frame. However, this is made up by strong gains in residential remodeling (17 percent growth) and new multifamily housing construction (7 percent growth).
Employment among new housing operative builders – developers who construct and sell multiple residential properties on a piece of land – is projected to grow 11 percent.
In total, these residential building sub-industries are projected to add 32,630 jobs from 2011 through the end of 2014.
Industrial building construction jobs are projected to grow 6 percent, outpacing commercial and institutional building construction, which is expected to grow 3 percent. Together, the projected gains total 27,439 new jobs.
For either residential building or non-residential building, the areas of stronger growth are a good place to start if you’re looking to break into this industry or find a new employer. Temporary or contract work may be a better fit for the sectors with slower growth.
Infrastructure and specialty trade construction
The other half of the construction industry includes infrastructure building and specialty trades that support all areas of construction. Heavy and civil engineering jobs are projected to grow 5 percent from 2011 to the end of 2014 (to about 939,000 overall).
If your industry works alongside or supplies the construction field, this is important information to know: Growth in infrastructure building and specialty trades is driven by significant gains in utility system construction jobs (11 percent), and jobs in specialty trade contracting are projected to grow 3 percent (to about 4,961,000 overall). The growth in this sector is dominated by plumbing, heating and electrical industries (6 percent).
By following industry news, studying trade publications and remaining an active member of your field, you can ensure that your career is headed where the demand is.