One of the biggest problems facing the construction industry is the lack of workers coming into the trades.  Construction gives a person the opportunity to not only find a job but create a fulfilling sustaining career for them and their family. 


According to the Brookings Institute “Nearly half of what will be the built environment in 2030 doesn’t exist yet.”  The current statistics for the construction workforce show not only a severe shortage of workers, but also an aging workforce.  Currently the average age of a construction tradesmen is 48 years old.  Nationally 185,000 new tradesmen are needed each year to fill the shortages.  Oklahoma is expected to see near a 15% growth in the workforce adding over 10,000 new workers.  In Oklahoma the average earning for a worker in the construction trades is $57,0000.


These careers can provide a quality livable The average salary of a tradesmen is $914 a week compared to everyone else at $608.  Additionally by going to an apprenticeship program a tradesman is able to continue their education and further their career without student loans.  By graduating many of these programs a worker is able to receive college credits through the ACE Program or similar.

The construction industry has played a powerful role in sustaining economic growth, in addition to producing structures that add to productivity and quality of life.

Construction is a significant source of jobs. The industry provides jobs for 7.7 million employees—more than 5% of the total non-farm workforce. Even as homebuilding has declined recently, nonresidential construction has added 185,000 jobs in the past year—nearly 9% of all net new jobs.

Construction jobs are good-paying jobs. In January 2007, seasonally adjusted hourly earnings in construction averaged $20.51, 20% higher than the average for all private industry non-supervisory workers, according to BLS.

Construction makes a disproportionately large contribution to GDP. The value of construction put in place in 2008 totaled over $5.4 billion, 3.6% of gross domestic product (GDP) in the state of Oklahoma. Residential spending totaled $639 billion; nonresidential, $559 billion.

Construction is a substantial purchaser of U.S. manufactured products. In 2006, shipments of construction materials and supplies topped $500 billion—nearly 11% of total U.S. manufacturers’ shipments. Shipments of construction machinery totaled $36 billion—11% of all U.S. machinery.

Materials costs are a major problem. In the past three years, the producer price index for construction materials and components jumped 22%, more than double the 9% rise in the consumer price index.

The typical construction firm size is very small. In 2005, there were 831,000 construction establishments with 6.8 million paid employees, plus more than two million firms without paid employees—mainly self-employed individuals but also partnerships and holding companies. Thus, average employment was only eight per establishment. (An establishment is a permanent business location. Most construction firms have only one establishment.)

Small business is big in construction. In 2005, 91% of construction establishments had fewer than 20 employees. Only 1% had 100 or more.

Construction is a low-margin industry. Internal Revenue Service data for 2003 shows that the 676,000 corporations in construction had net income (less deficit) of $32 billion, or 2.8% of total receipts of $1.1 trillion. That was barely half of the all-industry average margin of 5.5%.

Construction is a high-turnover industry in terms of entering and exiting firms. Census data prepared for the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration shows that 87,000 of 600,000 construction firms with employees in 2003 (14%) had no workers in 2002, while 78,000 firms closed.

The 2006 Construction Industry Annual Financial Survey, conducted by the Construction Financial Management Assn. (, included responses from 495 companies. Net earnings before income taxes in the most recent fiscal year averaged 2.4%. The median return on assets was 6.4%.

©2016 by Oklahoma Construction Industry Coalition.