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Key Findings of the HBI Construction Labor Market Report in Fall 2021

The following is a direct excerpt from the Fall 2021 HBI Construction Labor Market Report. Data from this report is based on research of the Research of the Economics Group, National Association of Home Builders.


Executive Summary


A lack of skilled construction labor is a key limiting factor to expand home construction and

improve housing inventory and affordability. Housing was a bright spot for the economy during the second half of 2020, as construction activity helped lead an economic rebound. However, sales outpaced home construction, resulting in growing backlog and supply-chain bottlenecks. For construction to expand further, more workers must be recruited and trained for the sector.


This report provides an overview of the state of the nation’s construction labor market. Key

findings include:

  • The estimated number of construction worker growth required for the sector is approximately 740,000 per year, according to NAHB analysis of BLS data and projections

  • Construction employment currently totals 7.42 million

  • Residential construction represents 3.1 million of this total. The number of open construction sector jobs currently averages between 300,000 to 400,000 each month. Construction employment is broad-based across the nation

  • Self-employment in construction is currently 22% of the labor force, down from 26% in 2010

  • Half of payroll workers in construction earn more than $50,460 annually and the top 25% make at least $71,000.

  • In comparison, the U.S. median wage is $49,150, while the top quartile (top 25%) makes at least $67,410

  • Immigrant workers now account for 24% of the construction workforce, down slightly from the 2016 record high share of 24.4%.

  • Women make up a growing share of the construction employment, up to 10.9% in 2020 from 10.3% in 2019

  • The median age of construction workers is 41, however, due to aging trends, the share of construction workers aged 25 to 54 decreased from 72.2% in 2015 to 69.0% in 2019

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