Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Employment Projections for Architecture and Construction, 2010-2020

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Employment in the Architecture and Construction career cluster is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that nationwide employment in Architecture and Construction occupations was just over 9 million in 2010 and expects employment to grow to just over 11 million in 2020. This represents the addition of two million new jobs, and an increase in employment of 22 percent, making Architecture and Construction one of this decade's fastest growing pathways.

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."

Cluster Overview:
Expectations for Change, 2010-2020
Seventy-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 Overview
The 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
Occupations Included
Construction (57)7,106.2 8,705.8 1,599.1 23%3,074.1
Design/Pre-construction (4) 243.0 298.3 55.3 23%111.3
Maintenance/Operations (8)1,755.0 2,115.1 359.9 21692.7
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 Construction
The 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 CTE
Most 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 2010Employment 2020Percent ChangeJob Openings
Brickmasons and Blockmasons89.2125.340.5%54.5
Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers144.7194.834.6%72.9
Operating Engineers and Equipment Operators349.1431.023.5%162.8
Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters419.9527.525.6%228.8
Heating, AC, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers267.8358.133.7%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 Managers176.8 192.0 8.6%49.7
Civil Engineers262.8 313.9 19.4%104.4
Environmental Engineers51.4 62.7 21.9%22.6
Hydrologists7.6 9.0 17.8%3.6
Civil Engineering Technicians79.0 88.5 12.0%24.6
Environmental Engineering Technicians18.8 23.3 24.3%8.2
Surveying and Mapping Technicians56.9 66.0 15.9%20.0
Architectural and Civil Drafters92.7 95.7 3.2%20.9
Mechanical Drafters67.4 74.9 11.1%20.5
Drafters, All Other15.8 15.2 -4.0%3.1
Total653.3 755.4 14.0%233.1

Complete Listing
The 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 2010Employment 2020New JobsPercent ChangeJob Openings
Construction Pathway7,106.2 8,705.8 1,599.1 23%3,074.1
Construction Managers523.1609.686.616.6%120.4
Cost Estimators185.4252.967.536.4%103.0
Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers558.5689.5131.023.5%259.7
Brickmasons and Blockmasons89.2125.336.140.5%54.5
Carpet Installers47.552.44.910.4%15.2
Floor Layers, Except Carpet, Wood, and Hard Tiles17.618.81.26.8%5.0
Floor Sanders and Finishers10.712.61.918.2%4.2
Tile and Marble Setters58.773.714.925.4%27.7
Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers144.7194.850.134.6%72.9
Terrazzo Workers and Finishers3.74.30.615.0%1.1
Construction Laborers998.81,211.2212.421.3%292.4
Paving, Surfacing, and Tamping Equipment Operators51.663.011.422.1%22.0
Pile-Driver Operators4.15.61.536.0%2.3
Operating Engineers and Construction Equipment Operators349.1431.081.923.5%162.8
Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers106.7136.029.427.5%58.7
Insulation Workers, Floor, Ceiling, and Wall23.228.65.423.4%14.6
Insulation Workers, Mechanical28.337.39.031.8%20.1
Painters, Construction and Maintenance390.5462.772.118.5%157.3
Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters419.9527.5107.625.6%228.8
Plasterers and Stucco Masons27.932.74.817.1%10.5
Reinforcing Iron and Rebar Workers19.128.49.348.6%13.2
Sheet Metal Workers136.1160.023.917.5%47.0
Structural Iron and Steel Workers59.872.913.121.9%25.4
Helpers--Brickmasons and Related Workers29.447.017.660.1%25.4
Helpers--Painters, Paperhangers, and Related Workers11.914.52.622.0%5.8
Helpers--Pipelayers, Plumbers, and Related Workers57.984.226.345.4%41.7
Helpers, Construction Trades, All Other19.625.25.628.7%10.8
Construction and Building Inspectors102.4120.818.417.9%48.6
Elevator Installers and Repairers19.922.22.311.3%8.2
Fence Erectors32.139.77.623.8%16.4
Hazardous Materials Removal Workers38.146.98.823.1%18.9
Septic Tank Servicers and Sewer Pipe Cleaners25.330.65.220.7%11.9
Segmental Pavers1.31.80.433.1%0.9
Earth Drillers, Except Oil and Gas17.820.32.513.8%6.2
Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Powerhouse, and Related23.424.61.14.9%6.9
Refractory Materials Repairers, Except Brickmasons2.
Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers108.4122.814.413.2%52.7
Manufactured Building and Mobile Home Installers7.
Helpers--Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Workers125.0148.123.018.4%80.4
Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters80.993.712.715.7%28.3
Conveyor Operators and Tenders36.340.54.211.5%14.9
Crane and Tower Operators40.146.46.315.7%17.2
Dredge Operators2.12.40.314.8%0.9
Excavating and Loading Machine and Dragline Operators61.572.210.717.3%28.9
Hoist and Winch Operators2.
Design/Pre-construction Pathway 243.0 298.3 55.3 23%111.3
Architects, Except Landscape and Naval113.7141.627.924.5%50.9
Landscape Architects21.625.13.516.0%7.8
Interior Designers56.567.410.919.3%28.4
Maintenance/Operations Pathway1,755.0 2,115.1 359.9 21%692.7
Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers1,151.51,392.3240.820.9%444.4
Highway Maintenance Workers148.5160.712.28.2%51.4
Construction and Related Workers, All Other45.353.48.117.9%23.2
Mechanical Door Repairers12.816.03.124.6%5.5
Control and Valve Installers/Repairers, Ex Mechanical Door43.843.80.0-0.1%8.1
Heating, AC, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers267.8358.190.333.7%137.6
Home Appliance Repairers47.750.83.16.5%11.9
Stationary Engineers and Boiler Operators37.640.02.36.2%10.6
Related Stem Occupations829.2 941.2 112.0 14%277.6
Architectural and Engineering Managers176.8192.015.28.6%49.7
Civil Engineers262.8313.951.119.4%104.4
Environmental Engineers51.462.711.321.9%22.6
Civil Engineering Technicians79.088.59.412.0%24.6
Environmental Engineering Technicians18.823.34.624.3%8.2
Surveying and Mapping Technicians56.966.09.015.9%20.0
Architectural and Civil Drafters92.795.73.03.2%20.9
Mechanical Drafters67.474.97.511.1%20.5
Drafters, All Other15.815.2-0.6-4.0%3.1