Construction Industry Bullish On Growth

Construction Industry Bullish On Growth

Landmark New Study Shows Construction Industry Bullish On Growth, Concerned About Labor Supply

Column Sponsor: Dewey Pearman, Executive Director, Construction Advancement Foundation
Article and study written by: The Association of Union Constructors

A major study on construction workforce levels finds that many contractors, labor representatives and owner-clients are optimistic about growth opportunities in the industrial construction and maintenance industry in 2015 and beyond – but at the same time, they are concerned about finding enough qualified union craft workers to fill the expected demand.

These are just two findings of the wide-ranging study released by The Association of Union Constructors (TAUC) and produced in conjunction with the Construction Labor Research Council (CLRC). It is designed to give construction professionals an in-depth understanding of the current state of the union construction and maintenance labor supply throughout the United States.

The report utilizes a rigorous scientific methodology to analyze nearly 1,000 responses to a 10-question survey sent in February 2015 to a cross-section of contractors, union representatives and owner-clients. The large sample size and carefully worded questions combine to make this one of the most useful union craft labor supply reports available.

In addition to overall findings, the study also features numerous data cuts based on several demographics, including respondent categories, geographic regions and specific industries. Data are presented for 14 crafts individually, as well as aggregated, including both actual 2014 staffing levels and projections for 2015.

Highlights of the study include:


  • More than 70% of respondents believe there will be growth, to varying degrees, in the construction and maintenance industry (union and non-union combined) in 2015.
  • Of that percentage, 20% believe there will be either “strong” or “very strong” growth.
  • A significant number also envision strong levels of growth lasting four years or more.


  • Respondents reported that just three of the 14 building trades crafts (Sheet Metal Workers, Teamsters and Insulators) are expected to have a surplus of craft workers in 2015.
  • Respondents further reported that the remaining 11 crafts are all expected to experience shortages of various levels in 2015. Of those 11, the Boilermakers and Carpenters are forecasted to have the most severe shortages.
  • Furthermore, a full 65% of survey respondents believe the current union craft labor force is too small.


  • Nearly 70% of respondents said they believe that union apprentice classes are currently too small; however, roughly a third said the classes were the right size. (PAGE 40)

“TAUC is pleased to make this groundbreaking study available to the industry at large,” said TAUC CEO Steve Lindauer. “The depth and breadth of the analysis is, in a word, impressive. Our sincere hope is that it will foster a new level of informed discussion between our tripartite partners, and better prepare the entire industry to face a number of workforce challenges in 2015 and beyond.”


Download the full executive summary here: TAUC Labor Study – Executive Summary

Download the full report here: TAUC Labor Study – Full Report


ABOUT TAUC: The Association of Union Constructors is the premier national trade association for the 21st century union construction and maintenance industry. Our more than 2,000 member firms include union contractor companies, local union contractor associations and vendors in the industrial maintenance and construction fields. We demonstrate that union construction is the best option because it is safer and more productive, and provides a higher quality and cost-competitive product. For more information, log on to