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Industries at a Glance
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Specialty Trade Contractors: NAICS 238

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:

  • Foundation, Structure, and Building Exterior Contractors: NAICS 2381
  • Building Equipment Contractors: NAICS 2382
  • Building Finishing Contractors: NAICS 2383
  • Other Specialty Trade Contractors: NAICS 2389

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.
2020
Jan.
2021
Feb.
2021
Mar.
2021

Employment (in thousands)

Employment, all employees (seasonally adjusted)

4,690.7 4,691.1 (p)4,649.2 (p)4,714.2

Employment, production and nonsupervisory employees

3,552.6 3,408.7 (p)3,364.2  

Footnotes
(p) Preliminary

(Source: Current Employment Statistics)

Employment by Occupation

Data series Employment,
2020

Carpenters

234,250

Construction laborers

353,540

Electricians

480,880

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

235,530

Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters

308,390

(Source: Occupational Employment and Wage 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.
2020
Dec.
2020
Jan.
2021
Feb.
2021

Average hourly earnings

$30.81 $31.16 $31.03 (p)$31.18

Average weekly hours

38.4 38.7 38.1 (p)36.9

Footnotes
(p) Preliminary

(Source: Current Employment Statistics)

Earnings and Hours of Production and Nonsupervisory Employees

Data series Back
data
Nov.
2020
Dec.
2020
Jan.
2021
Feb.
2021

Average hourly earnings

$29.28 $29.62 $29.30 (p)$29.39

Average weekly hours

38.7 39.4 38.8 (p)37.0

Footnotes
(p) Preliminary

(Source: Current Employment Statistics)

Earnings by Occupation

Data series Wages, 2020
Hourly Annual
Median Mean Median Mean

Carpenters

23.66 26.32 49,210 54,750

Construction laborers

18.10 20.41 37,650 42,440

Electricians

26.52 29.18 55,150 60,700

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

31.75 34.63 66,030 72,040

Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters

26.78 29.42 55,710 61,200

(Source: Occupational Employment and Wage 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 2016 2017 2018 2019

Fatalities

Number of fatalities

633 612 610 674

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

Data series 2019

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

Total recordable cases

3.1

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

1.8

Cases involving days away from work

1.2

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
2019
1st quarter
2020
2nd quarter
2020
3rd quarter
2020

Number of establishments

Private industry

528,455 (p)528,296 (p)530,800 (p)535,984

Local government

68 (p)68 (p)68 (p)68

State government

1 (p)1 (p)1 (p)1

Federal government

1      

Footnotes
(p) Preliminary

(Source: Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages)

 

Data extracted on: April 16, 2021