According to the BLS news release announcing this recent set of employment projections, "More than one-fourth of the projected fastest growing occupations are related to construction. Employment in most of these occupations, still at low levels in 2010 because of the 2007-09 recession, will recover along with the construction industry. But employment in most construction occupations is not expected to reach pre-recession levels."
Expectations for Change, 2010-2020Seventy-nine occupations are included in Architecture and Construction and the group of related occupations from the STEM cluster. Fifty-seven of these are predicted to grow about average compared to the national growth rate of 14 percent. And 14 of these are expected to increase much faster than average at 30 percent or more. These occupations illustrate what is expected to drive the construction cluster through this decade.
All but one of these projected fastest growing occupations are directly involved in hands-on new construction; four of the fastest growing are "helpers," those assistants to skilled construction workers who were laid off in huge numbers during the recession. The one fast growing occupation that is not hands-on construction is "cost estimators," a field that, like the others, is typically hard hit by the loss of business in recession but picks up afterwards.
It is unlikely that these fast growing occupations will grow at a steady pace across the entire decade. It is likely that there will be a big spurt in demand when the construction industry takes off, followed by slower growth until the next inevitable recession once again cuts construction employment. The collapse of housing prices was a huge element of the 2007-09 recession, and we are just now beginning to see a turnaround in the housing market with more houses being sold and more new houses being started. Over the next several years CTE programs should see a rising demand for Architecture and Construction cluster graduates and rising employer interest in these programs. This is a great time to start building employer connections and encouraging their engagement in partnership with our programs.
Projections Data: What the BLS tells us about employment
Every two years the BLS releases new national employment projections for over 700 different occupations. The projections include five important pieces of information discussed in this post.
Estimated 2010 employment: The estimated number of jobs or positions in each occupation. (This is a count of positions, not workers; many people have two jobs).
Projected 2020 employment: The estimated number of jobs or positions in each occupation. (A count of positions, not workers; many people have two jobs).
Numeric Change 2010-2020 or "New Jobs:" Most occupations are expected grow by 2020 as employers create new positions or "new jobs."
Percent Change 2010-2020: The percent increase or decrease in employment over the decade. This information helps us compare the rate of change across jobs of different sizes.
Job Openings 2010-2020: Job opportunities arise in two ways: when employers create new jobs and when workers retire or leave an occupation and need to be replaced by new hires. The BLS projects how many people will be retiring from each occupation over the decade and combines this with the number of new jobs to predict how many "job openings" will become available. Even shrinking occupations have job openings because employers need to replace some of the people who retire with new workers.
Pathways OverviewThe national system of career clusters divides Architecture and Construction into three Pathways: Construction, Design/Pre-construction, and Maintenance/operations. Employment in all three pathways is expected to grow rapidly over the course of the next decade as the national economy recovers and construction picks up again to provide for our continually growing national population.
- Construction is the largest pathway, offering about seven million jobs in 2010 and is expected to grow by about 1.5 million by 2020.
- Maintenance/operations is a smaller pathway, but this is partially an artifact of the way that occupations are defined by the BLS. Workers in many construction occupations can be employed on either the construction or the maintenance side. Plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and AC technicians can work in new construction or maintenance, and the BLS does not distinguish between these pathways when estimating the number of people in these jobs. When the pathway crosswalks were developed, most of these jobs were matched to the construction rather than maintenance pathway.
- Design/Pre-construction is the smallest pathway. This too is somewhat deceptive, since many occupations related to architectural and construction design are also STEM occupations and have been included in that cluster. These related STEM occupations employ almost three million people. STEM occupations are not projected to grow as rapidly as other construction occupations during the next decade. They did not lose as much employment in the recession and do not have as much ground to make up. In addition, continuously improving technology and increased efficiency slows employment growth in these fields.
Pathways Employment Overview (in 1000s)
|Pathways and Number of |
|Total Arch/Construction (69)||9,104.2||11,119.2||2,015.0||22%||3,878.1|
|Related STEM Occupations (10)||829.2||941.2||112.0||14%||277.6|
New Jobs and Job Openings in Architecture and ConstructionThe BLS expects to see the creation of over two million new positions in Architecture and Construction and its related STEM occupations over the next decade. Most of the new jobs will be added in the occupations that are already very large: Landscapers, Laborers, Carpenters, and Electricians. Twice as many job openings are expected, over four million, because employers will be replacing workers who retire as well as creating new jobs. The bulk of job openings will also be found in the very large occupations.
- Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers, Carpenters, and Construction Laborers are expected have the most job openings.
- Refractory Materials Repairers, Dredge Operators, and Segmental Pavers are expected to do the worst, adding fewer than 1,000 jobs each. They will also have few job openings.
- Construction managers are expected to add an additional new 120,000 jobs, more than any other management occupation.
- Although they don't make it on to this top 10 list, Civil Engineers are expected to add more new jobs than any other engineering occupation, 51,000.
- None of the occupations in Architecture and Construction are expected to lose jobs.
Construction Occupations of Particular Interest to CTEMost of the construction occupations that CTE prepares students for don't appear among the fastest growing Architecture and Construction occupations or among those with the most openings. But the careers that we focus on are among the largest, most stable, most essential construction occupations, and over the next decade they will provide very significant numbers of jobs for CTE graduates nationwide. It is always important to remember, however, that construction is an inherently volatile industry. Construction slows dramatically in almost every recession and hundreds of thousands of jobs are lost. The industry eventually bounces back after every recession, but the dislocation and hardship for workers is real.
Construction Occupations with Major CTE Programs (in 1000s)
|Employment 2010||Employment 2020||Percent Change||Job Openings|
|Brickmasons and Blockmasons||89.2||125.3||40.5%||54.5|
|Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers||144.7||194.8||34.6%||72.9|
|Operating Engineers and Equipment Operators||349.1||431.0||23.5%||162.8|
|Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters||419.9||527.5||25.6%||228.8|
|Heating, AC, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers||267.8||358.1||33.7%||137.6|
CTE programs also prepare students for a number of occupations in the STEM cluster, most of which are related to the Design/Pre-construction pathway. The Engineering and Engineering Technician occupations in this group are expected to continue growing at a reasonable pace, but demand for drafters is expected to be slow. Job openings created by retirement are still expected in these occupatins, but the slow growth rate is a warning sign that they are no longer of much interest to employers. Improved technology means that engineers and technicians do much of their own drafting work, and no longer look to this occupation for assistance. It's important for CTE drafting programs to provide students with a clear pathway into higher education, since jobs for those with drafting skills alone are likely to become harder to find.
Architecture/Construction-Related STEM Occupations (in 1000s)
|Architectural and Engineering Managers||176.8||192.0||8.6%||49.7|
|Civil Engineering Technicians||79.0||88.5||12.0%||24.6|
|Environmental Engineering Technicians||18.8||23.3||24.3%||8.2|
|Surveying and Mapping Technicians||56.9||66.0||15.9%||20.0|
|Architectural and Civil Drafters||92.7||95.7||3.2%||20.9|
|Drafters, All Other||15.8||15.2||-4.0%||3.1|
Complete ListingThe table below gives the complete picture of how occupations in Architecture and Construction are expected to change between 2010 and 2020.
Employment Projections (in 1000s)
Pathways and Occupations Included
|Employment 2010||Employment 2020||New Jobs||Percent Change||Job Openings|
|Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers||558.5||689.5||131.0||23.5%||259.7|
|Brickmasons and Blockmasons||89.2||125.3||36.1||40.5%||54.5|
|Floor Layers, Except Carpet, Wood, and Hard Tiles||17.6||18.8||1.2||6.8%||5.0|
|Floor Sanders and Finishers||10.7||12.6||1.9||18.2%||4.2|
|Tile and Marble Setters||58.7||73.7||14.9||25.4%||27.7|
|Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers||144.7||194.8||50.1||34.6%||72.9|
|Terrazzo Workers and Finishers||3.7||4.3||0.6||15.0%||1.1|
|Paving, Surfacing, and Tamping Equipment Operators||51.6||63.0||11.4||22.1%||22.0|
|Operating Engineers and Construction Equipment Operators||349.1||431.0||81.9||23.5%||162.8|
|Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers||106.7||136.0||29.4||27.5%||58.7|
|Insulation Workers, Floor, Ceiling, and Wall||23.2||28.6||5.4||23.4%||14.6|
|Insulation Workers, Mechanical||28.3||37.3||9.0||31.8%||20.1|
|Painters, Construction and Maintenance||390.5||462.7||72.1||18.5%||157.3|
|Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters||419.9||527.5||107.6||25.6%||228.8|
|Plasterers and Stucco Masons||27.9||32.7||4.8||17.1%||10.5|
|Reinforcing Iron and Rebar Workers||19.1||28.4||9.3||48.6%||13.2|
|Sheet Metal Workers||136.1||160.0||23.9||17.5%||47.0|
|Structural Iron and Steel Workers||59.8||72.9||13.1||21.9%||25.4|
|Helpers--Brickmasons and Related Workers||29.4||47.0||17.6||60.1%||25.4|
|Helpers--Painters, Paperhangers, and Related Workers||11.9||14.5||2.6||22.0%||5.8|
|Helpers--Pipelayers, Plumbers, and Related Workers||57.9||84.2||26.3||45.4%||41.7|
|Helpers, Construction Trades, All Other||19.6||25.2||5.6||28.7%||10.8|
|Construction and Building Inspectors||102.4||120.8||18.4||17.9%||48.6|
|Elevator Installers and Repairers||19.9||22.2||2.3||11.3%||8.2|
|Hazardous Materials Removal Workers||38.1||46.9||8.8||23.1%||18.9|
|Septic Tank Servicers and Sewer Pipe Cleaners||25.3||30.6||5.2||20.7%||11.9|
|Earth Drillers, Except Oil and Gas||17.8||20.3||2.5||13.8%||6.2|
|Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Powerhouse, and Related||23.4||24.6||1.1||4.9%||6.9|
|Refractory Materials Repairers, Except Brickmasons||2.1||2.3||0.2||8.6%||0.6|
|Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers||108.4||122.8||14.4||13.2%||52.7|
|Manufactured Building and Mobile Home Installers||7.8||8.9||1.1||13.9%||2.0|
|Helpers--Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Workers||125.0||148.1||23.0||18.4%||80.4|
|Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters||80.9||93.7||12.7||15.7%||28.3|
|Conveyor Operators and Tenders||36.3||40.5||4.2||11.5%||14.9|
|Crane and Tower Operators||40.1||46.4||6.3||15.7%||17.2|
|Excavating and Loading Machine and Dragline Operators||61.5||72.2||10.7||17.3%||28.9|
|Hoist and Winch Operators||2.8||3.0||0.2||6.5%||1.2|
|Architects, Except Landscape and Naval||113.7||141.6||27.9||24.5%||50.9|
|Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers||1,151.5||1,392.3||240.8||20.9%||444.4|
|Highway Maintenance Workers||148.5||160.7||12.2||8.2%||51.4|
|Construction and Related Workers, All Other||45.3||53.4||8.1||17.9%||23.2|
|Mechanical Door Repairers||12.8||16.0||3.1||24.6%||5.5|
|Control and Valve Installers/Repairers, Ex Mechanical Door||43.8||43.8||0.0||-0.1%||8.1|
|Heating, AC, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers||267.8||358.1||90.3||33.7%||137.6|
|Home Appliance Repairers||47.7||50.8||3.1||6.5%||11.9|
|Stationary Engineers and Boiler Operators||37.6||40.0||2.3||6.2%||10.6|
|Related Stem Occupations||829.2||941.2||112.0||14%||277.6|
|Architectural and Engineering Managers||176.8||192.0||15.2||8.6%||49.7|
|Civil Engineering Technicians||79.0||88.5||9.4||12.0%||24.6|
|Environmental Engineering Technicians||18.8||23.3||4.6||24.3%||8.2|
|Surveying and Mapping Technicians||56.9||66.0||9.0||15.9%||20.0|
|Architectural and Civil Drafters||92.7||95.7||3.0||3.2%||20.9|
|Drafters, All Other||15.8||15.2||-0.6||-4.0%||3.1|