From bridge repairs and dam maintenance to asphalt paving and residential planning, you might feel that construction work is all around you. Oftentimes it might even seem that construction is constantly interfering with your daily commute and other errands. But consider this: this industry is significant to both your safety and the U.S. economy. Here are just a few ways in which construction projects affect wallets and bank accounts across the U.S.
Like any industry, when the construction field is booming, there are plenty of jobs available for people who have the right skill set and education. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, the construction industry encompasses over 650,000 employers with over 6 million employees. Carpenters, masonry workers, insulation workers — the job opportunities that fall under the construction umbrella are vast. Of course, not everyone in the industry works with their hands. People such as architects are needed to design each project before the building process even starts.
The Housing Sector
According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, between 1980 and 2007, housing construction contributed an average of 4.5 percent to the country’s GDP. Before the 2007 housing bubble gave way to the recession, housing accounted for about 6.3 percent of GDP.
Homeowners make lots of purchases. A new couch, a new washer, a new fence — homes need plenty of features and appliances to keep a family happy. And all of those appliances need to be designed, built, and tested for safety. Areas around the buildings also require landscapers to keep up appearances. In this way, new home construction ultimately leads to plenty of jobs outside of the actual construction industry. The same can be said about new office buildings and hotels.
How much do you rely on public infrastructure throughout the day? On the way to work people need to cross bridges, drive through tunnels, and, of course, drive on roadways. Even once you arrive at work, you likely enter a building and spend a chunk of the day there. Without the construction industry to create and repair these structures, everything would grind to a halt, and most people would be looking for a new line of work.
While construction impacts the economy, the reverse is true as well. In a weak economy, people have less money to spend on new homes, and businesses have less to invest in expanding their bases of operation. The relationship between the economy and the construction industry is broad and cyclical. When one begins to lose steam, the other tends to as well.