The number of jobs in Construction is falling across the U.S.

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

As we saw in our post about the fastest-growing industries, one sector performed particularly poorly since 2000. This is the construction industry, which includes businesses in new housing construction itself, as well as electrical, heating and framing contractors and many other specialty trade contractors.

Again, let us see how did the number of jobs in construction change in each state (click to zoom in on the map):

Here we have already factored in the total employment change, so the map shows only the relative change in construction jobs. We omitted data for counties with less than 100 people employed in the industry, using statewide data for them instead.

We see that while there are some counties that actually added jobs across the country, most of them are concentrated in the Midwest. Also, the Midwest contains the only state where a statewide increase in construction jobs was registered: North Dakota. While the magnitude of change in Alaska lies within the margin of error, all of the other 48 states had fewer construction jobs in 2012 than in 2000.

As we can see in the following chart, every single industry in the sector lost jobs after 2008. The biggest decrease is registered in Commercial and Institutional Building Construction itself, and it is the only major industry that hadn’t shown any signs of recovery by 2012.

On the other hand, contractor businesses are performing slightly better, with most of them on track to reach pre-2008 employment numbers in the next few years.

The average salary has also remained mostly unchanged in most industries. However, there is one the notable exception: heavy and civil engineering construction. Not did this industry have the highest-paid jobs in 2003, but the average salary actually increased by 13 percent even after adjusting it using the CPI index.

Source: the US Census Bureau County Business Patterns data


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About Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

Andrey Kamenov is a data scientist working for Advameg Inc. His background includes teaching statistics, stochastic processes and financial mathematics in Moscow State University and working for a hedge fund. His academic interests range from statistical data analysis to optimal stopping theory. Andrey also enjoys his hobbies of photography, reading and powerlifting.

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