Job Outlook for Construction Laborers and Helpers

Posted by Flexomeric on 1/1/2015
It's that time of the year again to look back, take stock and set goals for the next 12 months. If you are in the construction business or are planning to join the industry, 2015 is a good year to get started. Here are three reasons why.

US Construction Market Expected to Grow

The year 2013 marked the start of recovery of the construction industry. While growth was slow at the beginning, it has nonetheless gained momentum to spur growth for this year and the next. This predicted growth has also been fueled by a rebounding economy, as can be gleaned from higher demand for hotels, retail spaces, office buildings, and industrial facilities all the way to the end of 2015. The only constraint in this growth is the shortage of skilled labor to meet with the construction demands. So what does this mean to those who are planning to switch jobs or climbing the career ladder? Scarcity of skilled labor means that entry requirements for entry-level jobs will be more relaxed, while those who have already earned tenure will likely rise to supervisory or senior positions for an opportunity to earn more. (The top 10% of construction laborers and helpers earned $55,750 as of May 2012 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

Spotlight on Health, Education, and Recreation

Construction demands of the retail industry (as fueled by a recovering economy) are expected to grow 11.5% for the next 12 months, but there is modest growth to be expected from the healthcare and education sectors as well. Construction of healthcare facilities and schools is predicted to grow about 8% and 6%, respectively, with minimal contributions coming from the religious sector. Interestingly, given the ageing infrastructure of the United States, public safety is a concern and this is reflected in its forecasted growth of 3% for 2015. More and more people also appreciate the need for relaxation and recreation, and this manifests not only in the need for hotels but also in the need for amusement and recreational facilities. The latter is expected to grow 7.5% in 2015.  

Bureau of Labor Statistics 7-Year Forecast 

As of May 2012, BLS says that the median pay for construction laborers and helpers is $14.02 per hour or $29,160 a year. The lowest 10% earned less than $18,840 a year in May 2012, which is consistent with industry standards of apprentices earning about 60% of the median income. With modest entry-level pay comes easier entry requirement: often, construction laborers can start by doing simple cleaning duties and learning the ropes while on the job. Apart from English comprehension and reading, there is no specific education requirement to get started, but it pays to have a bit of background in mathematics, blueprint reading, welding, and shop work. As a whole, the category for construction laborers and helpers is expected to grow 25% until 2022, a growth much faster than average.