The Construction Chart Book 4th Edition

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CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training

Summary Statement

A broad collection of tables and charts covering health and safety in the U.S. construction industry, as well as considerable economic and training data.


Alternative work arrangement - From the Current Population Survey: includes independent contractors, on-call workers, and employees of any temporary service company or contract (leasing) company (see self-employed).

American Community Survey (ACS) - A nationwide survey of households designed to provide communities a fresh look at how they are changing. It will replace the decennial long form in future censuses and is a
critical element in the U.S. Census Bureau’s reengineered 2010 census.

Blood Lead Levels (BLLs) - A standardized measurement determined by a medical test that screens a person’s blood sample for exposure to lead. For children aged under 6 years, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has defined an elevated BLL as greater than or equal to 10 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL), but evidence exists for subtle effects at lower levels. For adults in their childbearing years, the CDC has established a BLL of 25 µg/dL or greater as a health risk. The typical BLL for U.S. adults is 6 µg/dL.

Blue-collar worker - In this chart book, defined as production worker.

Body Mass Index (BMI) - From the National Health Interview Survey: a measure that adjusts bodyweight for height. It is calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. Healthy weight for adults is defined as a BMI of 18.5 to less than 25; overweight, as greater than or equal to a BMI of 25; and obesity, as greater than or equal to a BMI of 30.

Business receipts - From the Internal Revenue Service, gross operating receipts minus the cost of goods returned (to the business entity) and allowances (reserves set aside to cover adjustments to notes and accounts receivable).

Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) - A part of the occupational safety and health statistics program conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the CFOI compiles a count of all fatal work injuries occurring in the United States in each calendar year from the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The program uses diverse state and federal data sources to identify, verify, and describe fatal work injuries. Information about each workplace fatality (industry, occupation, and other worker characteristics; equipment being used; circumstances of the event) is obtained by cross-referencing source documents, such as death certificates, workers’ compensation records, news accounts, and reports to federal and state agencies.

Civilian labor force - From the Current Population Survey: employed and unemployed people, 16 years old or older, residing in the 50 states and the District of Columbia who are not inmates of institutions (such as, penal and mental facilities and homes for the aged) and who are not on active duty in the Armed Forces. People who give up looking for employment are not counted as part of the labor force.

Construction workers - From the Economic Census: includes all payroll workers (up through the working supervisory level) directly engaged in construction operations, such as painters, carpenters, plumbers, and electricians. This category also includes journeymen, mechanics, apprentices, laborers, truck drivers and helpers, equipment operators, on-site record keepers, and security guards. (Supervisory employees above the working foreman level are “other employees.”)

Contingent workers - From the Current Population Survey: workers who do not have an implicit or explicit contract for long-term employment. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) uses three alternative measures of contingent workers that vary in scope.

Corporation - From the Internal Revenue Service: a business that is legally separate from its owners (who may be people or other corporations) and workforce and thus, among other things, forms contracts and is assessed income taxes. C corporation - Under state laws, any legally incorporated business, except an S corporation. S corporation - A special IRS designation for legally incorporated businesses with 75 or fewer shareholders who, because of tax advantages, elect to be taxed as individual shareholders rather than as corporations.

Current Population Survey (CPS) - A monthly household survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the CPS provides comprehensive information on the employment and unemployment experience of the U.S. population, classified by age, sex, race, and a variety of other characteristics based on interviews with about 60,000 randomly selected households.

Day labor - Work done where the worker is hired and paid one day at a time, with no promise that more work will be available in the future. It is a form of contingent work.

Day laborers - Workers hired and paid one day at a time. Day laborers find work through two common routes. First, some employment agencies specialize in short-term contracts for manual labor in construction, factories, offices, and manufacturing. These companies usually have offices where workers can arrive and be assigned to a job on the spot, as they are available. Less formally, workers meet at well-known locations, usually public street corners or commercial parking lots, and wait for building contractors, landscapers, home owners and small business owners, and other potential employers to offer work. Much of this work is in small residential construction or landscaping. Day laborers are thought to be paid in cash, usually, and therefore evade having to pay income taxes.

Days away from work - From the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses: includes those that resulted in days away from work, some of which also included job transfers or restrictions.

Defined benefit plan - A retirement plan that uses a specific predetermined formula to calculate the amount of an employee’s future benefit. Benefits are based on a percentage of average earnings during a specified number of years at the end of a worker’s career. However, a new type of defined benefit plan, a cash balance plan, is becoming more prevalent. In the private sector, defined benefit plans are typically funded exclusively by employer contributions. In the public sector, defined benefit plans often require employee contributions.

Defined contribution plan - A retirement plan in which the amount of the employer’s annual contribution is specified. Benefits are based on employer and employee contributions, plus or minus investment gains or losses on the money in the account. The most common type of this plan is a savings and thrift plan. Under this type of plan, the employee contributes a predetermined portion of his or her earnings (usually pretax) to an individual account, all or part of which is matched by the employer. Examples of defined contribution plans include 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, employee stock ownership plans, and profit-sharing plans.

Diary day - From the American Time Use Survey: a 24-hour period for which the designated person reports his or her activities. For example, the diary day of a designated person interviewed on Tuesday is Monday.

Dollar value of business done - From the Economic Census: the sum of the value of construction work done (including fuel, labor, materials, and supplies) and other business receipts (such as rental equipment, legal services, finance, and other nonconstruction activities).

Economic Census - Economic survey produced by the U.S. Department of Commerce every five years – 2002 is the most recent version available – with geographic, industry, and summary series; includes private-sector establishments in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

Establishment - From the Economic Census: a single physical location, where business is conducted and services or industrial operations are performed. An establishment is classified to an industry when its primary activity meets the definition for that industry. In construction, the individual sites, projects, fields, lines, or systems of such dispersed activities are not considered to be establishments. The establishment in construction is represented by those relatively permanent main or branch office that is either (1) directly responsible for supervising such activities, or (2) the base from which personnel operate to carry out these activities. Establishments are either payroll or without payroll (see nonemployer).

Fatality rate - From the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries: represents the number of fatal injuries per 100,000 full-time workers, calculated as follows: (N/W) x 100,000, where N = number of fatal injuries, W = number of full-time workers employed, and 100,000 = base to express the fatality rate per 100,000 full-time workers.

Full-time equivalent workers (FTEs) - To make incidence rates comparable, researchers use the number of hours, or “full-time” workers (also known as person years) to calculate such rates. Typically, it is assumed that a full-time worker works 2,000 hours per year (50 weeks of 40 hours) in the United States. To determine the number of “full-time equivalent” workers in a population, just divide the number of hours worked by 2,000.

Goods-producing industries - From the North American Industry Classification System: includes manufacturing, construction, natural resources (agriculture), and mining.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) - The total output of goods and services produced in the economy, usually measured in a given year, valued at market prices.

Gross job gains - From the Business Employment Dynamics: the sum of all jobs added at either opening or expanding establishments. An opening establishment is an establishment that has positive employment in the current quarter and that either had zero employment or was not in the database the previous quarter. An expanding establishment is a continuous unit that increases its employment from a positive level in the previous quarter to a higher level in the current quarter.

Gross job losses - From the Business Employment Dynamics: the sum of all jobs lost in either closing or contracting establishments. A closing establishment is an establishment that had positive employment in the previous quarter and that either has zero employment or is not in the database in the current quarter. A contracting establishment is a continuous unit that decreases its employment from the previous quarter to a lower positive level in the current quarter.

Hispanic - Refers to persons who identified themselves in the enumeration or survey process as being Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino. Persons of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity may be of any race.

Housing units - From New Residential Construction: a house, an apartment, a mobile home, a group of rooms, or a single room that is occupied (or if vacant, is intended for occupancy) as separate living quarters. Separate living quarters are those in which the occupants live and eat separately from any other persons in the building and which have direct access from the outside of the building or through a common hall.

Incidence rate - From the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses: represents the number of injuries and/or illnesses per 100 (or 10,000) full-time workers, calculated as follows: (N/EH) x 200,000, where N = number of injuries and/or illnesses, EH = total hours worked by all employees during the calendar year, and 200,000 = base for 100 full-time equivalent workers (working 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year).

Incorporated worker - See self-employed.

Independent contractor - Individuals who identify themselves as independent contractors, independent consultants, or freelance workers (whether self-employed or wage-and-salary workers), when interviewed by the U.S. Census Bureau for the BLS’ Current Population Survey. See self-employed.

Intermediate purchases - From the Survey of Current Business: composed of materials, fuels, electricity, and purchased services. For the manufacturing sector, multifactor productivity is the growth rate of output less the combined inputs of labor, capital, and intermediate purchases.

Job opening - From the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey: a specific position of employment to be filled at an establishment. Conditions include the following: there is work available for that position, the job could start within 30 days, and the employer is actively recruiting for the position.

Job openings rate - From the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey: the number of job openings on the last business day of the month divided by the sum of the number of employees who worked during or received pay for the pay period that includes the 12th of the month and the number of job openings on the last business day of the month.

Job tenure - From the Current Population Survey: the length of time an employee has worked for his or her current employer. The data do not represent completed spells of tenure.

Legally required benefits - From the National Compensation Survey: includes the employer’s costs for Social Security, Medicare, federal and state unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation.

Lost-worktime cases involving days away from work - From the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses: cases resulting in days away from work, or a combination of days away from work and days of restricted work activity.

Net value of construction work - From the Economic Census: the (gross) value of construction work done by an establishment minus costs for construction work subcontracted out.

Nonemployer - From the Economic Census: a business has no paid employees, has annual business receipts of $1 or more in the construction industries, and is subject to federal income taxes. Most nonemployers are selfemployed individuals operating very small unincorporated businesses. Nonemployers can be a partnership, sole proprietorship, or corporation without employees.

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) - The successor to the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system; this system of classifying business establishments is being adopted by the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Under NAICS, construction (code 23) has three sectors, as in the SIC system, but contains substantial changes affecting construction sub-sectors. This system is to be updated every five years. The 2007 NAICS includes revisions to the 2002 NAICS across several sectors, but remains the same as the 2002 version for construction.

Paid employees - From the Economic Census: consists of full- and part-time employees, including salaried officers and executives of corporations, who are on the payroll in the pay period including March 12. Included are employees on paid sick leave, holidays, and vacations; not included are proprietors and partners of unincorporated businesses. The number of establishments with 1 to 19 employees is as of March 12.

Production worker - From the Current Population Survey: in this chart book, same as blue-collar worker, that is, all workers, except managerial, professional (architects, accountants, lawyers), and administrative support staff. Production workers can be either wage-and-salary workers or self-employed.

Productivity - Units of work accomplished or produced per man-hour.

Race - From the Current Population Survey and American Community Survey: since 2003, respondents are allowed to choose more than one race. Previously, multiracial persons were required to select a single primary race. Persons who select more than one race are classified separately in the category “two or more races.” Persons who select one race only are classified in one of the following five categories: 1) white, 2) black or African American, 3) Asian, 4) Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, and 5) American Indian or Alaska Native. Racial minority refers to categories 2 through 5.

Seasonal adjustment - A statistical technique which eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series. This permits easier observation and analysis of cyclical, trend, and other non-seasonal movements in the data.

Self-employed - From the Current Population Survey: this chart book counts both incorporated and unincorporated (independent contractors, independent consultants, and freelance workers). However, “self-employed” in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) publications generally refers to unincorporated self-employed, while incorporated self-employed workers are considered wage-and-salary workers on their establishments’ payrolls (see alternative work arrangement and independent contractor).

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) - This system has been replaced by NAICS. The 1987 version was the last in which construction included three major categories: 15 (general contractors), 16 (heavy and highway), and 17 (specialty contractors), and 26 more precise (3- and 4-digit) subcategories (see North American Industrial Classification System).

Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) - This system is being adopted by federal statistical agencies to classify workers into occupational categories for the purpose of collecting, calculating, or disseminating data. All workers are classified into one occupation (of more than 800) according to their occupational definition. To facilitate Classification, occupations are combined to form 23 major groups, 96 minor groups, and 449 broad occupations. Construction and Extraction Occupations (47-0000) is a major group, consisting of five minor groups: Supervisors, Construction and Extraction Workers; Construction Trades Workers; Helpers, Construction Trades; Other Construction and Related Workers; and Extraction Workers.

Trades - Production occupations in construction, such as bricklayers and carpenters.

Turnover - Separation of an employee from an establishment (voluntary, involuntary, or other).

Type of employment - From the Current Population Survey: refers to wage-and-salary, self-employed, or without payment.

Unincorporated worker - See self-employed.

Union density - From the Current Population Survey: the proportion of union membership (unionization) plus union “coverage” of workers not belonging to a union (on each worker’s main job). This chart book counts wage-and-salary workers in private and public sectors, which may be different from publications counting workers in the private sector only.

Value of Construction Put in Place - From Construction Spending: the value of new construction and based on the value of construction projects. Includes work done by projects in any industry, and is based on ownership, which may be public or private. The series broadly covers new construction and major replacements, such as the complete replacement of a roof or heating system. The tabulations cover all construction under way in a given calendar year.

Value of construction work done - From the Economic Census: the value of all construction work based on receipts received by construction establishments, including new construction, maintenance and repair, along with any construction work by a reporting establishment for itself. Excludes value of business operations outside the United States and work not directly related to construction.

Wage-and-salary worker - Workers who receive wages, salaries, commissions, tips, payment in kind, or piece rates. Includes employees in both private and public sectors. Unlike the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), however, which counts the incorporated selfemployed as wage-and-salary workers, this chart book counts incorporated self-employed as self-employed.

Without payment - Work “without pay” for 15 hours or more per week on a farm or business operated by a member of the household, who is a relative.

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