When you run a small business, the enormity of the construction industry can seem overwhelming.
There are tremendous forces at work on factors that affect your bottom line, from the price of materials to the value of real estate, and it’s important to understand those forces.
Sometimes you need to step back and take a look at the productivity and growth in the industry, which shows just how much has been accomplished on a macro level, and provides clues on what is to come. These statistics can reveal some truly remarkable truths about our industry you may not be aware of.
With the President’s recent declaration of his intent to increase infrastructure in the coming years, it is helpful to take that step back and get an overview of the state of the construction industry.
Here are seven construction statistics that are an encouraging and insightful overview on the reality of the construction industry today.
1. Construction spending has grown since 2014
Spending on construction increased from 12.4% GDP to 14.7% GDP in the past two to three years. (Source)
More money is being spent per year in the industry. In fact, this statistic is particularly encouraging in light of the next statistic…
2. The number of housing units is on the rise
The construction industry is particularly booming in 2017-2018 as demand for homes remains strong.
Over one million new housing units are planned for completion in the U.S. this year, compared to 583,000 in 2009. (Source)
3. Work is plentiful, but employees aren’t
While more money is going into the industry and the number of projects is growing, a lack of qualified employees has slowed this growth.
In 2016, 56% of builders reported suffering from a shortage of workers in 2016. (Source)
This places a higher stress and burden on those who are working in the industry, especially those overseeing projects.
4. The cost of materials is dropping, even as construction spending goes up
One interesting wrinkle, according to 2016 statistics, is that construction spending and materials prices are going in opposite directions.
Construction project spending increased by 4.04% compared to the previous year’s statistics and the cost of materials decreased by 1.7%. (Source)
5. The average hourly wage for workers is on the rise
For the construction sector as a whole, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an increase in earnings in January 2018 compared to the fall of 2017.
In October 2017, the average hourly wage for an employee in the construction field sat at $29.09. Just this past January of 2018, the hourly wage has increased to $29.33. (Source)
While only a 24-cent jump, it is a significant increase for only a three-month period, and shows that there is underlying strength in the industry.
6. Workplace incidents have greatly increased since 2013
Incidents in the construction industry can include a broad range of things from illness to physical injury, although the Bureau of Labor Statistics combines workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses all under one category.
In 2013, the number of incidents among construction workers was 856 per 100 workers annually. Three years later, that number increased to 1,034 incidents per 100 workers. (Source)
The greatest number of workplace incidents have been attributed to OSHA violations involving fall protection.
The United State’s Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has certain criteria for workplace conditions that legally must be met. Violation of these criteria is not only illegal, but produces harmful conditions for workers, particularly in risky fields such as construction where there are constant workplace hazards.
The following is a list OSHA compiled in 2016 of the top ten hazards construction workers suffered from due to violations of OSHA’s policy:
- Lack of protection from falling
- Communication hazards
- Unstable scaffolding
- Lack of respiratory protection against debris
- Lack of control for hazardous energy
- Powered industrial trucks
- Other machinery malfunctions
- Lack of training to protect against falls
- Electrical malfunction
Interestingly enough, the lack of protection for falling—the number one hazard contributing to injury—is not due to a lack of training but more likely a lack of safety equipment.
7. Construction management software options continue to expand
We’ve added 29 new construction management software options to Capterra’s software directory just since September 2017, bringing our total to a staggering 382 products.
Construction management software allows you to run your business in a far more efficient manner than you could have just a few years ago. You can browse our directory and compare software options based on the features they offer, how many users you would need, and even whether you want it web-based or installed.
What construction statistics surprise you?
Stats about the state of the construction industry have both positive and negative outlooks going forward. While business continues to boom for both construction companies and workers, there are underlying factors that should be a cause for concern, such as workplace safety.
Are there any construction stats that really stood out to you? Do you have ideas on what the industry needs to do about workplace safety? Please, share them in the comments below.
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