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Employment of construction laborers is tied to the fluctuations of the economy; when the demand for construction falls, laborers and helpers may experience periods of unemployment. However, during peak periods of building activity more jobs are available than what can be filled by the labor pool.
Overall, the BLS projects that job growth in this field is expected to grow 12 percent from 2016 to 2026. Due to the relatively high turnover rate, jobs are widely available.
Construction laborers provide a wide variety of construction-related activities during all phases of construction. The types of tasks that laborers may perform include preparing and cleaning up construction sites, operating heavy equipment, transporting materials and disposing waste. Laborers with more specialized training may use explosives or run hydraulic machines to dig out tunnel and may be certified to remove hazardous materials such as, asbestos, lead, or chemicals.
Most construction work is physically demanding, and laborers may be required to work outside, at great heights or in tunnels. Laborers often use protective gear, like gloves, safety googles and earplugs around loud equipment. Most laborers work full-time, although sometimes work may be stopped due to bad weather and some jobs may be only seasonal.
Constructions laborers have some of the highest injuries amongst all occupations; they often experience muscle fatigue and injuries related to lifting and carrying heavy materials. Some jobs may expose workers to dangerous materials, fumes and machinery and workers may suffer injuries due to falling off ladders and scaffolding.
A formal education is not typically required for most positions. Helpers of electricians, pipefitters, plumbers, etc., may require a high school diploma.
Most training earned by laborers will be through on-the-job training. The length of training depends on the employer and specialization.
For some specializations, workers may enter apprenticeship programs, which includes 2 to 4 years of technical instructions and on-the-job training. The type of skills an apprentice will learn will be in areas of signaling, blueprint reading, proper usage of tools and equipment, and health and safety procedures. Apprenticeships programs also consists in specialized training in many areas of construction, including building construction, demolition and destruction, environmental remediation, road and utility construction, tunneling, masonry, landscaping, pipeline construction.
The median annual salary for construction laborers and helpers is around $33,450. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,930 and the highest 10% earned more than $60,860.
Starting pay for most apprentices is usually 60% of what a fully trained laborer makes and will receive more pay increases as they gain more skills.
Laborers and helpers who remove hazardous materials must meet minimum and state requirements. Certification may be needed for jobs like rigging and scaffold building. These types of certifications may be attained through LIUNA.
Other desired qualities include mechanical and math skills, physical stamina, and physical strength.
You can search for a construction job listing through websites like CareerBuilder, Monster, Indeed, SimplyHired, and JobsInEachState.com. You can also check your local papers or do a general web search for your area for construction jobs.
The construction companies listed above are always looking to add to their list of employees and contracters. With larger scale projects starting across the country now is good time to get into the growing Construction business.
The average construction salary is on par with the national average for salaries. However a job in construction opens the doors for lots of potential job and salary growth with career paths that can lead to Construction Project Managers, Construction Managers, Construction Superintendents, and more.