Construction Laborers, also referred to as construction craft laborers, perform a wide variety of construction-related activities during all phases of construction. Many laborers spend their time preparing and cleaning up construction sites, using tools such as shovels and brooms. Other workers, such as those on road crews, may specialize and learn to control traffic patterns and operate pavement breakers, jackhammers, earth tampers, or surveying equipment.

With special training, laborers may help transport and use explosives or run hydraulic boring machines to dig out tunnels. They may learn to use lasers to place pipes and to use computers to control robotic pipe cutters. They may become certified to remove asbestos, lead, or chemicals.

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Construction Laborers, also referred to as construction craft laborers, perform a wide variety of construction-related activities during all phases of construction. Many laborers spend their time preparing and cleaning up construction sites, using tools such as shovels and brooms. Other workers, such as those on road crews, may specialize and learn to control traffic patterns and operate pavement breakers, jackhammers, earth tampers, or surveying equipment.

With special training, laborers may help transport and use explosives or run hydraulic boring machines to dig out tunnels. They may learn to use lasers to place pipes and to use computers to control robotic pipe cutters. They may become certified to remove asbestos, lead, or chemicals.

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Job Prospects


Because of the large size of these combined occupations and their relatively high turnover, job prospects should be favorable.


Employment of construction laborers and helpers is especially sensitive to the fluctuations of the economy. On the one hand, workers in these trades may experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of construction falls. On the other hand, during peak periods of building activity some areas may require additional number of these workers.

Employment projections data for construction laborers and helpers, 2016-26


Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2016 Projected Employment, 2026 Change, 2016-26 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric
Construction laborers and helpers -- 1,449,400 1,629,900 12 180,500 --

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Employment projections data for construction laborers and helpers, 2016-26


Occupational Title
Construction laborers and helpers
SOC Code
--
Employment, 2016
1,449,400
Projected Employment, 2026
1,629,900
CHANGE, 2016-26
PERCENT
12
NUMERIC
180,500
EMPLOYMENT BY INDUSTRY
--

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Pay


The median annual wage for construction laborers and helpers was $33,450 in May 2017. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,930, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $60,860.

In May 2017, the median annual wages for accountants and auditors in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:


Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction $35,890
Construction of Buildings $34,960
Specialty Trade Contractors $32,290
Temporary Help Services $26,680

Like many construction workers, most construction laborers and helpers work full time. Although they sometimes stop work because of bad weather, they may work overtime to meet deadlines. Laborers and helpers on highway and bridge projects may need to work overnight to avoid causing major traffic disruptions. In some parts of the country, construction laborers and helpers may work only during certain seasons. For example, in northern climates, cold weather frequently disrupts construction activity in the winter.

Construction Laborers and Helpers


Median annual wages, May 2017


Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics

Job Outlook


Employment of construction laborers is projected to grow 12 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Laborers work in all fields of construction, and demand for laborers should mirror the level of overall construction activity. Repairing and replacing the nation’s infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and water lines, may result in steady demand for laborers.

Although employment growth of specific types of helpers is expected to vary (see table below), overall demand for helpers is expected to be driven by the construction of homes, schools, office buildings, factories, and power plants.

Construction Laborers and Helpers


Percent change in employment, projected 2016-26


Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics

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Professional Recruiter and Staffing Organizations


  • National Association of Personnel Services
  • Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals
  • American Association of International Healthcare Recruitment
  • National Association of Executive Recruiters
  • National Association for Health Care Recruitment
  • Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association
  • American Staffing Association
  • Top Echelon Recruiting Network

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