Construction Sector

Significant Points

* Job opportunities are expected to be good, especially for skilled and experienced construction trades workers.
* Workers have relatively high hourly earnings.
* About 68 percent of establishments employ fewer than 5 people.
* Construction includes a very large number of self-employed workers.

Nature of the Industry
Goods and services.

Houses, apartments, factories, offices, schools, roads, and bridges are only some of the products of the construction industry. This industry’s activities include the building of new structures, including site preparation, as well as additions and modifications to existing ones. The industry also includes maintenance, repair, and improvements on these structures.

Industry organization.

The construction industry is divided into three major segments. The construction of buildings segment includes contractors, usually called general contractors, who build residential, industrial, commercial, and other buildings. Heavy and civil engineering construction contractors build sewers, roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, and other projects related to our Nation’s infrastructure. Specialty trade contractors perform specialized activities related to all types of construction such as carpentry, painting, plumbing, and electrical work.

Construction usually is done or coordinated by general contractors, who specialize in one type of construction such as residential or commercial building. They take full responsibility for the complete job, except for specified portions of the work that may be omitted from the general contract. Although general contractors may do a portion of the work with their own crews, they often subcontract most of the work to heavy construction or specialty trade contractors.

Recent developments.

The construction industry has been strongly affected by the credit crisis and recession that began in December 2007. Housing prices fell and foreclosures of homes rose sharply, particularly in overbuilt areas of the country. New housing construction, while still ongoing, dropped significantly. The recession is expected to impact other types of construction as well. Retailers are refraining from building new stores and State and local governments are reducing spending. However, as energy costs have risen, some companies are finding it necessary to build or renovate buildings that are not energy efficient. “Green construction” is an area that is increasingly popular and involves making buildings as environmentally friendly and energy efficient as possible by using more recyclable and earth-friendly products.

Source: bls.gov, mediaclubsouthafrica.com

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