Industries at a Glance

Specialty Trade Contractors: NAICS 238

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About the Specialty Trade Contractors subsector

The specialty trade contractors subsector is part of the construction sector.

The Specialty Trade Contractors subsector comprises establishments whose primary activity is performing specific activities (e.g., pouring concrete, site preparation, plumbing, painting, and electrical work) involved in building construction or other activities that are similar for all types of construction, but that are not responsible for the entire project. The work performed may include new work, additions, alterations, maintenance, and repairs. The production work performed by establishments in this subsector is usually subcontracted from establishments of the general contractor type or operative builders, but especially in remodeling and repair construction, work also may be done directly for the owner of the property. Specialty trade contractors usually perform most of their work at the construction site, although they may have shops where they perform prefabrication and other work. Establishments primarily engaged in preparing sites for new construction are also included in this subsector.

North American Industry Classification System

The specialty trade contractors subsector consists of these industry groups:

Workforce Statistics

This section provides information relating to employment in specialty trade contractors. These data are obtained from employer or establishment surveys. The following tables present an overview of the industry including the number of jobs, data for occupations common to the industry, and projections of occupational employment change.

Employment

Data series Back
data
Mar.
2015
Apr.
2015
May
2015
Jun.
2015

Employment (in thousands)

Employment, all employees (seasonally adjusted)

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3,990.6 4,018.3 (P) 4,027.8 (P) 4,025.9

Employment, production and nonsupervisory employees

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2,921.2 3,064.5 (P) 3,160.5

Footnotes
(P) Preliminary

(Source: Current Employment Statistics)

Employment by Occupation

Data series Employment,
2014

Carpenters

190,610

Construction laborers

298,990

Electricians

403,690

First-line supervisors/managers of construction trades and extraction workers

172,740

Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters

267,610

(Source: Occupational Employment Statistics)

Projections

For projected (future) employment estimates, see the National Employment Matrix, which includes employment estimates by industry and occupation for specialty trade contractors.

(Source: Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections)

Earnings and Hours

This section presents data on employee earnings and weekly hours. The latest industry averages of hourly earnings and weekly hours are shown. In addition, recent hourly and annual earnings are shown for occupations commonly found in specialty trade contractors.

Earnings and Hours of All Employees

Data series Back
data
Feb.
2015
Mar.
2015
Apr.
2015
May
2015

Average hourly earnings

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$26.09 $26.31 $26.27 (P) $26.30

Average weekly hours

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37.6 38.2 38.5 (P) 38.7

Footnotes
(P) Preliminary

(Source: Current Employment Statistics)

Earnings and Hours of Production and Nonsupervisory Employees

Data series Back
data
Feb.
2015
Mar.
2015
Apr.
2015
May
2015

Average hourly earnings

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$24.48 $24.89 $24.90 (P) $24.95

Average weekly hours

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38.0 38.6 38.9 (P) 39.1

Footnotes
(P) Preliminary

(Source: Current Employment Statistics)

Earnings by Occupation

Data series Wages, 2014
Hourly Annual
Median Mean Median Mean

Carpenters

19.02 21.72 39,570 45,170

Construction laborers

14.72 16.97 30,620 35,300

Electricians

23.69 25.81 49,270 53,680

First-line supervisors/managers of construction trades and extraction workers

28.23 30.28 58,720 62,980

Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters

24.34 26.65 50,630 55,430

(Source: Occupational Employment Statistics)

Work-related Fatalities, Injuries, and Illnesses

This section presents data for the industry on the number of workplace fatalities and the rates of workplace injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers in specialty trade contractors. An injury or illness is considered to be work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing condition.

Data series 2010 2011 2012 2013

Fatalities

Number of fatalities

447 425 473 495

Rate of injury and illness cases per 100 full-time workers

Total recordable cases

4.3 4.1 3.9 4.2

Cases involving days away from work, job restriction, or transfer

2.3 2.2 2.2 2.4

Cases involving days away from work

1.7 1.6 1.6 1.7

Cases involving days of job transfer or restriction

0.6 0.6 0.6 0.7

Blank cells indicate no data reported or data that do not meet publication criteria.

(Source: Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities)

Workplace Trends

This section presents data on the number of establishments in specialty trade contractors.

Establishments

Data series Back
data
1st quarter
2014
2nd quarter
2014
3rd quarter
2014
4th quarter
2014

Number of establishments

Private industry

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(P) 472,370 (P) 477,304 (P) 480,325 (P) 482,329

Local government

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(P) 60 (P) 64 (P) 64 (P) 64

State government

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(P) 1 (P) 1 (P) 1 (P) 1

Federal government

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(P) 1 (P) 1 (P) 1

Footnotes
(P) Preliminary

(Source: Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages)

Data extracted on: July 29, 2015

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