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The construction industry is expanding in Central New York as the number of construction projects grow and not enough new workers are entering the field to replace retiring baby boomers. During January - September 2007, 13,730 people worked in construction at 1,913 firms.
Job Trends

Construction work in Central New York is seasonal with peak employment occurring during the summer months. Some construction jobs require considerable physical stamina but if you enjoy working with your hands, construction work may be for you.

The construction sector consists of three component industries engaged in work including new work, additions, alterations, maintenance, and repairs. The largest component industry (66 percent) and fastest growing is specialty trade contractors. This sector consists of firms who perform specific activities (e.g., pouring concrete, site preparation, plumbing, painting, and electrical work) involved in building construction but are not responsible for the entire project. The work performed by firms in this sector is usually subcontracted from general contractor or operative builder establishments or work also may be done directly for the owner of the property (especially in remodeling and repair construction).

The second largest component industry is construction of buildings (25 percent), including residential, industrial, commercial, and institutional buildings. The smallest component industry is heavy and civil engineering construction (9 percent). It includes businesses whose primary activity is the construction of entire engineering projects (e.g., highways and dams). It also includes work on water and sewer lines, oil and gas pipelines, power and communication lines, streets, bridges, and land subdivision.

Job Trends

Construction wages tend to be high. The average weekly paycheck for the region's construction worker - $836 - is 14 percent higher than the average for all industries combined. Wages do tend to vary for each component industry. The highest paying component industry is heavy and civil engineering construction with average weekly wages of $1,117.
Job Trends

Common construction occupations providing many job opportunities include carpenters, electricians, plumbers, pipe fitters, steamfitters, and first-line supervisors/managers of construction trades and extraction workers. Construction also has a very large number of self-employed workers. Occupations most likely to be self-employed include painters and paperhangers; carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers; carpenters; brick masons, block masons, and stonemasons; and roofers.

Apprenticeship is an appealing way to get trained for construction occupations since you can earn money while learning a skill. Apprenticeship is a structured system for learning a skilled trade by training on the job through practical experience and taking required trade-related courses in a classroom setting. Apprentices are full-time, paid employees usually starting at about 40 percent of the journey-worker wage rate, with increases periodically until training is completed. Training time varies from two to five years, depending on the specific construction job you choose. Women are still underrepresented in the construction field.

Further sources of information about jobs in the construction industry include the following:

  • Current job listings, career resources, and apprenticeship information can be found on the New York State Department of Labor web page (
  • Local New York State Department of Labor offices and New York State Career Centers - look in the Blue Pages of the phone book under State Government, Labor Department
  • The Yellow Pages in the phone book list specific construction companies - look under the headings: Construction Management; Building Contractors; Buildings - Metal; Electric Contractors; Heating Contractors; Plumbing Contractors; Roofing Contractors
  • Construction labor unions
  • Daily newspapers
  • People working in the field

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