Report: NYC construction workforce trending younger, more diverse
- A New York Building Congress (NYBC) analysis of Census Bureau data has found that New York City's construction workforce has become younger and more diverse.
- More than 250,000 union, nonunion and "off-the-books" individuals were employed in the city's construction industry in 2015, and, for the first time ever, the American Community Survey found that the workforce had more Hispanics (37.75%) than white non-Hispanics (37.74%). In a similar time of high construction employment back in 2008, Hispanics represented only 31% of the workforce, while white non-Hispanics represented 43%.
- Workers ages 20-39 gained ground with representation of 44%, up from 41% in 2014, while the number of older workers ages 40-59 fell to 46% from 50%. The share of women in the industry inched up to 7.6%, while the number of black and Asian workers both jumped in 2015.
The ACS also revealed that 81% of the construction industry in New York City is 81% blue-collar, with the remainder working in management, design, engineering and administrative positions. Only 12% earned a college degree, although 40% responded that they earned $100,000 or more a year, and 36% said they took in between $50,000 and $100,000.
The salary statistics are in line with the message of those organizations, like the Associated General Contractors of America, who consistently advocate for increased funding for construction career training and tout those programs as an alternative to the four-year degree track and a way to begin earning a good wage. And the fact that the city's construction workforce is becoming slightly younger is a good sign for an industry desperate to attract new workers.
A recent Economic Policy Institute report favored unions as far as being able to provide the best wages. The fact that the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York commissioned the study, however, caused open-shop organizations like the Associated Builders and Contractors' Empire State chapter to question the results.
The increase in Hispanic construction workers raises other questions regarding the safety of immigrant workers in the city's construction industry. A November 2015 New York Times investigation found that worker deaths in New York City had risen over a two-year period because of a lack of sufficient safety measures, but the investigation also found that immigrant worker deaths were disproportionately higher. Experts say that language barriers and lack of training also contributed to a 32% increase in Hispanic or Latino immigrant construction worker deaths between 2010 and 2014.
- New York Building Congress NEW YORK CITY'S CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY GOT YOUNGER AND MORE DIVERSE IN 2015
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