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
Dec.
2015
Jan.
2016
Feb.
2016
Mar.
2016

Employment (in thousands)

Employment, all employees (seasonally adjusted)

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4,214.0 4,223.4 (P) 4,234.5 (P) 4,252.6

Employment, production and nonsupervisory employees

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3,232.8 3,070.7 (P) 3,064.8

Footnotes
(P) Preliminary

(Source: Current Employment Statistics)

Employment by Occupation

Data series Employment,
2015

Carpenters

204,590

Construction laborers

316,480

Electricians

427,270

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

180,330

Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters

283,390

(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
Nov.
2015
Dec.
2015
Jan.
2016
Feb.
2016

Average hourly earnings

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$26.66 $26.87 $26.76 (P) $26.73

Average weekly hours

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38.6 39.1 37.9 (P) 37.5

Footnotes
(P) Preliminary

(Source: Current Employment Statistics)

Earnings and Hours of Production and Nonsupervisory Employees

Data series Back
data
Nov.
2015
Dec.
2015
Jan.
2016
Feb.
2016

Average hourly earnings

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$25.17 $25.37 $25.16 (P) $25.16

Average weekly hours

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39.1 39.6 38.1 (P) 37.7

Footnotes
(P) Preliminary

(Source: Current Employment Statistics)

Earnings by Occupation

Data series Wages, 2015
Hourly Annual
Median Mean Median Mean

Carpenters

19.75 22.52 41,070 46,840

Construction laborers

15.16 17.45 31,540 36,300

Electricians

24.08 26.31 50,090 54,720

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

28.72 30.96 59,750 64,400

Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters

24.16 26.77 50,250 55,670

(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 2011 2012 2013 2014

Fatalities

Number of fatalities

425 473 495 565

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

Data series 2014

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

Total recordable cases

3.8

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

2.0

Cases involving days away from work

1.4

Cases involving days of job transfer or restriction

0.6

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
4th quarter
2014
1st quarter
2015
2nd quarter
2015
3rd quarter
2015

Number of establishments

Private industry

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481,507 (P) 481,136 (P) 484,940 (P) 488,128

Local government

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64 (P) 65 (P) 65 (P) 67

State government

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

Federal government

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Footnotes
(P) Preliminary

(Source: Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages)

Data extracted on: April 29, 2016

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