Current Market Trends in the Construction Industry

Young people have always been told that earning a four-year college degree is the only way to get a high paying job and achieve success. But the narrative is changing; college enrollment rates are dropping, while trade/vocational school enrollment rates, especially for the construction industry, are on the rise. Here are the overall trends in trade school and construction training program enrollments, as well as the current construction job market in the U.S.

Trade School enrollment on the rise

Recently, colleges have experienced significant declines in enrollment, while many trade programs are observing the opposite. According to the National Student Clearinghouse, enrollment in trade schools – particularly across construction, culinary, and mechanic trade programs – have experienced increases in enrollment over the last two years.
Many consider the pandemic to be the turning point that caused this shift. Prior to the pandemic, many trade sectors were experiencing labor shortages, particularly in construction. Construction industry training programs saw the largest enrollment increase, with a rise of 19.3% year over year, bringing enrollment in the trade back to pre-pandemic levels.
Although colleges and universities may feel the pressure to recruit more students, seeing young people pursue trades is good for our nation’s economy and workforce. This comes at a critical time as well, because there are an estimated 650,000 open positions in the construction industry, which has led to a significant backlog in construction projects. Our economy and infrastructure need these skilled workers, so the more the merrier!

Construction Industry Jobs

The construction industry in particular allows for diverse opportunities for employment, including more corporate or administrative roles, as well as boots on the ground, skilled roles. Some careers in the industry require college degrees, while others require specific industry certifications.
The construction industry has an estimated growth rate of 7%, expecting to add about 109,100 new jobs between the years over the next five years. Many construction jobs are currently in high demand, seeking skilled workers to join the ranks and help companies complete pending projects. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, some of these high demand jobs include: electricians, mechanical engineers, financial managers, software developers, solar photovoltaic installers, and wind turbine service technicians. There are many opportunities for employment in this growing industry, regardless of expertise or speciality.

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