Construction Jobs

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Construction jobs are thriving—according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction laborers held about 1 million jobs in 2004 and about 15% of construction laborers were self-employed. The construction industry deals with an extensive array of work: from things like fitting windows and fixing burst pipes to building high-rises, bridges, and stadiums.

Construction jobs require people with different skills and skill levels. They include construction laborers—both skilled and unskilled, technicians and professionals such as civil engineers and surveyors, managers, supervisors, painters, plumbers, carpenters, and demolition experts—you name them, and can you find them in the construction industry. People in construction jobs are involved in all aspects of construction including planning, designing, surveying, managing projects, building, inspecting, renovating, repairing, and maintenance work.

Construction jobs are usually physically demanding and involve outdoor work. Most people in construction work about 37-40 hours a week; however, it is not unusual to find people putting in longer hours when there are opportunities to earn overtime. Construction jobs on large projects can involve working long hours to meet deadlines. Working conditions range from comfortable indoor settings to sandy, muddy building sites that expose workers to fluctuating weather conditions.

Both skilled and unskilled construction workers need excellent physical and hand-eye coordination in order to use tools and machinery. Technicians and professionals must have scientific knowledge, grasp of their subject matters, and IT and math abilities. Construction jobs can also demand creative skills, as in the case of architects or interior decorators, and supervising or planning jobs can require managerial ability. Physical fitness is a basic requirement for construction jobs.

Employers in the construction industry range from national and international construction groups to medium-sized and small companies and self-employed individuals. Though, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction opportunities for laborers are expected to grow "more slowly than average" through 2014, people with higher skill sets are always in demand. Employment opportunities for construction workers can be affected by cyclical booms and depressions in the industry, as well as by limited durations of construction projects.

Construction jobs in highway, street, and bridge construction are among the highest paying, while foundation work is the lowest. Apprentices or helpers usually earn the half of that which is earned by experienced and skilled construction workers. Construction laborers earned a median hourly wage of $12.10 in May 2004. While the lowest average earnings were about $7.71, the highest 10% earned more than $23.61 per hour. Present rates are much higher.

Training varies according to the nature of construction jobs. Most construction workers undergo on-the-job training, while others with greater responsibilities have to complete full-time studies at universities or colleges before getting employed.

Useful websites for construction workers include LaborersLearn and The National Center for Construction Education and Research.
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