Statistical graph superimposed over photo of buildings under construction

As one of the largest industries in the US (and the world), the construction market remains lucrative. Beyond the coronavirus-induced hiccups that hit the industry in early 2020, the US construction industry is constantly changing and adjusting to new economic climates around the globe. Construction statistics from 2020 show that there is not only a lot of growth in the market — but also increased risks.

Today, construction data is an invaluable asset for contractors that can assist them in their decision-making — from preconstruction to collecting payment. Construction statistics are changing how suppliers, subcontractors, and general contractors budget, schedule projects, bid, measure success with key performance indicators (KPIs), and more. 

Contractors may also utilize construction statistics to make educated decisions regarding their business’ future, such as with productivity or with mapping out preconstruction. Risk assessment is also made clearer for contractors with access to construction statistics. 

One such risk is the payment processes of the construction industry, which have become a focal point of research in recent years.

As published in the 2020 National Construction Payment Report conducted in Quarter 1 of 2020, a survey of over 540 construction professionals found that 80% of construction businesses spend a significant portion of their work week seeking payments for their work. Additionally, just 50% of those businesses said they receive payment within 30 days of invoicing.

Below are some key construction categories with recent statistics from that shed light on the state of the industry in the US, the workforce that powers it, and payment standards. These statistics not only provide a current outlook for construction, but also future trends for the industry. 

The US construction industry at a glance

In 2019, the US construction industry was worth $1.3 trillion.1

As of 2020, the construction industry has 680,000+ employers and 7 million employees2 — this is a decrease from 2018, where there were 11.2 million construction employees.3 

As of January 2020, over 50% of US contractors expected profit increases within a six-month timeframe. Over the tumultuous course of 2020, confidence reached “historic lows” in April of 2020, but as of the October 2020 report, it has continued to rebound.4

Construction spending data

US construction spending totaled $1.3 trillion in 2019.10 

  • Average US total construction spending totalled $1.04 trillion between 2009 and 2019.10
  • US private sector construction spending totalled $977 billion U.S. in 2019.10
  • US public sector construction spending totalled $329 billion U.S. in 2019.10
  • US commercial construction spending totalled $92 billion in 2019.11
  • US single-family residential construction spending totalled $276 billion in 2019.11
  • FMI forecasts spending to reach $314 billion by 2023, an increase of 5%.
  • US multifamily residential construction spending totalled $64 billion in 2019.11
  • FMI forecasted spending to reach $68 billion by 2020, an increase of 5%.
  • In 2019, the construction industry accounted for 4.1% of the US GDP.13

Top five states with the most construction spending* in 2019

  1. Texas – $45.4 billion 
  2. New York – $32.1 billion 
  3. California – $24.8 billion  
  4. Florida – $23 billion 
  5. Pennsylvania – $12.6 billion 

Five states with the least construction spending* in 2019

  1. Wyoming – $298 million 
  2. Vermont – $363 million 
  3. Alaska – $449 million 
  4. Montana – $532 million 
  5. West Virginia – $654 million 

*Private, non-residential spending12

Credit and payments in construction

63.2% of contractors say they “sometimes” get paid on time according to terms in their contract.29

Speech bubble illustration saying "49% of construction payments were not paid on time in 2019"

26.9% of contractors say it takes between 31-45 days to receive payment after invoicing.29

The median DSO in the construction/engineering industry was 90 days in 2019.15

49% of construction payments were not paid on time in 2019.29

Mechanics Lien Form

Mechanics liens: In a 2019 survey of 503 contractors, 74% of contractors claimed they filed a mechanics lien within the last year.30

Construction dispute statistics 

North America’s average length of construction disputes was 17.6 months and average value of construction disputes was $18.8 million in 2019.14

The same study cites mediation as the most common method of construction alternative dispute resolution that year.

The most common construction dispute cause was listed as contractor/subcontractor “failing to understand and/or comply” with a contractual obligation in 2019.14

Construction industry business statistics 

Top 10 Biggest Construction Companies in the US in 2020:

  1. Bechtel (Reston, Virginia)
  2. The Turner Corporation (New York, New York)
  3. AECOM (Los Angeles, California)
  4. The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company (Baltimore, Maryland)
  5. Kiewit Corporation (Omaha, Nebraska)
  6. McDermott International (Houston, Texas)
  7. STO Building Group Incorporated (New York, New York)
  8. Skanska USA (New York, New York)
  9. PCL Construction (Denver, Colorado)
  10. Gilbane Building Company (Providence, Rhode Island)

The average revenue from these companies in 2020 was $11.28 billion.15

  • The average gross profit margin in the construction industry was 22.41% in Quarter 3 of 2020 (data calculated only using publicly-traded construction companies).16
  • The construction industry net margin was 8.56 % in Quarter 3 of 2020 (data calculated only using publicly-traded construction companies).16
  • The average construction net profit margin was 7.6% in 2017 (for single-family home building companies).17 
  • The average construction backlog is 7.5 months as of September 2020.18

Workforce statistics in construction 

11.3 million Americans worked in the construction industry in 2018,19 and there were 12,000 new construction jobs added each month in 2019.21 

Construction industry jobs and salaries

  • The average construction laborer salary was $42,320 in 2019.20
  • The average construction manager salary was $103,960 in 2019.20
  • The average construction industry hourly wage was $29.07 as of September 2020.20

Who works in the construction industry?

  • 12.6% of construction industry workers were union members in 2019.20
  • Women make up 10.3% of the construction industry workforce.22
  • 88.1% of employees in the US construction industry identify their race as white.19
  • 6.4% of employees in the US construction industry identify their race as African American.19
  • 1.9% of employees in the US construction industry identify their race as Asian.19 
  • 30.4% of employees in the US construction industry identify their ethnicity as Hispanic or Latino.19

Safety statistics in construction 

  • 21.1% of worker fatalities in the private industry came from the construction industry in 2018.23
  • One in five U.S. worker deaths were in construction in 2018.23
  • Falls were the leading causes of private sector worker deaths in the construction industry in 2018.23
  • 1008 construction worker deaths in private industry (2018).23
Illustration: 1 in 5 US worker deaths were in construction in 2018

Top causes of death in construction (2018)

  1. Falls: 33.5% of construction deaths were caused by falls.23
  2. Falling objects: 11.1% of construction deaths caused by falling objects.23
  3. Electrocution: 8.5% of construction deaths caused by electrocution.23
  4. Caught-in/Compressed by equipment: 5.5% of construction deaths caused by workers caught-in or compressed by equipment or objects.23

COVID-19 construction statistics

COVID-19 Construction Data Chart

2% of construction workers have reported their hours increased since the week of March 1, 2020.24

Construction industry percentage change in employment

Change of employment in major metropolitan areas following the COVID-19 outbreak between February and June of 202025:

  1. New York, NY/Newark, NJ/Jersey City, NJ (-10%)
  2. Seattle/Tacoma/Bellevue (-5.7%
  3. Dallas/Fort Worth (-4.8%)
  4. Los Angeles, CA (-2.6%)
  5. Miami, FL (-2.3%)
  6. Boston, MA (-2%)
  7. Philadelphia, PA/Camden, NJ/Wilmington, DE (-1.9%)

39% of contractors say they have not made any changes in response to COVID-19,29 while 21% of contractors say they are more selective about the customers/jobs they accept since COVID-19.29

31% of contractors have applied for SBA loans or other financing since COVID-19.29

Top five construction associations: By the numbers

  1. Associated General Contractors of America7
  • 6,500+ US general contractors represented
  • 9,000+ US subcontractors represented 
  • 10,500+ US suppliers represented 
  • 26,000+ total US contractors represented 
  1. Associated Builders and Contractors26
  • 23,000 merit shop construction and construction-related firms represented with 75 chapters 
  1. Construction Management Association of America27
  • 16,000 members 
  1. Mechanical Contractors Association of America26
  • 2,300+ members 
  1. National Electrical Contractors Association26
  • 119 chapters across the US 

Citations

1 US Census Bureau, Monthly Construction Spending, August 2020 

2 The Associated General Contractors of America, Construction Data

3 Statista, Number of employees in the U.S. construction industry from 2000 to 2018, March 2020

4 Associated Builders and Contractors, Construction Contractor Confidence Surges into 2020, January 2020

5 Turner & Townsend, International construction market survey 2019

6 Statista, Global construction equipment unit sales between 2018 and 2022, by region, May 2020

7 Associated General Contractors of America 

8 Statistia, Construction industry spending worldwide from 2014 to 2025, August 2019

9 Frost & Sullivan, Global Spending in Construction to Reach $17.5 Trillion by 2030, Finds Frost & Sullivan, December 2019

10 Statistia, Construction spending in the United States from 1998 to 2019, by sector, March 2020

11 FMI Consulting, 2020 FMI Overview Featuring FMI’s Fourth Quarter 2019 Outlook

12 The Associated General Contractors of America, The Economic Impact of Construction in the United States, September 2020

13 Statista, Value added by the construction industry as a share of gross domestic product in the U.S. from 2007 to 2019, April 2020

14 Arcadis, 2020 Global Construction Disputes Report

15 PWC, Working Capital Report 2019/20: Creating value through working capital

16 CSI Market, Construction Services Industry Profitability

17 NAHB, Builders’ Profit Margins Continue to (Slowly) Increase, March 2019

18 Associated Builders and Contractors, ABC’s Construction Backlog Slips in September; Contractors Remain Optimistic, October 2020

19 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employed persons by detailed industry, sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, 2019

20 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Industries at a Glance: Construction

21 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics Highlights, January 2020

22 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Women in the labor force: a databook, December 2019

23 OSHA, Commonly Used Statistics

24 Procore, How a global crisis is changing American construction, October 2020

25 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Geographic impact of COVID-19 in BLS surveys by industry, August 2020

26 Eastern Michigan University Library, Construction Management: Construction Associations 

27 CMAA, About Us

28 NAWIC

29 2020 National Construction Payment Report

30 2019 National Construction Payment Report