New ‘Chart Book’ offers detailed, expansive view of U.S. construction industry

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Updated Jul 6, 2018

the construction chart bookA new, expanded edition of “The Construction Chart Book: The U.S. Construction Industry and its Workers” is now out and available in eBook and online versions.

The sixth edition, published by the nonprofit CPWR—The Center for Construction Research and Training, contains data on all aspects of the U.S. construction industry. It can be accessed for free at this link.

“The book covers construction industry economics, demographics and changes to employment and training, in addition to safety hazards and dangerous chemicals that can compromise life and health,” says the forward to the sixth edition. “In short, this book examines aspects of construction that affect every man and woman working in our industry.”

Charts and graphs from the mounds of data compiled over two years for the “Chart Book” shed light on such issues as construction unionization, construction employment trends and worker fatalities and injuries.

Some findings from the “Construction Chart Book”:

  • As of 2012 (the latest year for which data are available), more than 80 percent of construction firms had fewer than 10 employees.
  • About 1.2 million construction workers were union members in 2016 – 100,000 more than in 2015.
  • Between 1985 and 2015, the average age of construction workers jumped from 36 to 42.5 years, exceeding the average age for all industries.
  • 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.
  • 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 million in 2007.
  • Construction is expected to add nearly 800,000 wage-and-salary jobs between 2014 and 2024, double the rate projected for the overall economy (12.9 percent versus 6.5 percent).
  • Between 1992 and 2015, 7,235 deaths (42 percent of deaths among wage-and-salary construction workers) occurred in establishments with 10 or fewer employees, although less than 30 percent of construction workers were employed in such establishments.

These findings and more have been laid out in an easier-to-read format that includes being able to access specific charts from the Detailed Contents with a mouse click. The charts can be enlarged with a zoom function. Definitions of terms can be found by hovering the cursor over the text. Hyperlinks are provided to external references. The pdf version allows use of bookmarks, and the online version provides a handy navigation bar.

CPWR offers the “Chart Book” through an agreement with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).