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New York Building Congress Report Finds NYC Construction Jobs Resilient Amid Global Pandemic


In its latest report, “Construction Outlook Update – Workforce Snapshot 2022,” the New York Building Congress found a quick recovery from industry-wide pandemic low points


Despite losing over 70,000 jobs during the pandemic, the construction industry still employed over 208,400 people throughout the five boroughs in 2020


New York, NY (March 11, 2022) — The New York Building Congress released a report today highlighting how the city’s construction industry remained resilient despite the pandemic’s impacts on New Yorkers and the local economy. “Construction Outlook Update – Workforce Snapshot 2022” examines demographic, mobility and employment data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey for 2018 through 2021 to determine the industry’s strengths and to offer recommendations to bolster the city’s diverse and talented workforce.


“Despite the economic setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York City building industry remained resilient,” said Carlo A. Scissura, President & CEO of the New York Building Congress. “Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers — from all different backgrounds, education levels and experiences — were able to provide for their families and keep this great city moving. Now, as we continue to reopen, the construction workforce will only get stronger, more diverse and forward-thinking as we build the future of New York.”


The city’s construction industry lost an estimated 70,000 jobs during the pandemic. At the same time, however, the report found that the New York construction workforce bounced back by 2020 with over 200,000 workers hired in the industry, quickly recovering from the overall losses.


The report also makes several recommendations to make the workforce more resilient to pandemic-related job losses, including investment in both STEM education and career and technical education. STEM jobs were proven to be the least affected by the pandemic, while career and technical education would give the construction workforce more stability and resources.


Key insights from the report include:


  • 63.3 percent of all construction workers identify as nonwhite: The industry has always supported a diverse workforce with pathways to the middle class, including people of varying education levels, backgrounds and citizenship status. 56.2 percent of workers engaged in construction indicated English is not their primary language, with the vast majority preferring Spanish.
  • The median earnings for NYC workers in 2020 were $41,492: 49.7 percent of all construction workers reported earnings of less than $50,000 per year, with 31.3 percent between $50,000 and $100,000 and 19 percent at more than $100,000.


  • The percentage of blue-collar workers in the construction industry decreased from 2019 due to the pandemic: 73.8 percent of all jobs in the construction industry are blue-collar workers, while 21.3 percent of the workforce are white-collar employees, and 4.9 percent are in service occupations. This is a shift from 2019, when 75.8 percent of the workforce held blue-collar jobs.


  • 58.7 percent of the workforce has health insurance: In 2020, 122,346 workers, or 58.7 percent, had health insurance, staying mostly the same as 2019. The industry-wide percentage is largely dependent on blue-collar workers, of whom 55 percent are covered by health insurance.


  • Younger cohort of professionals will bolster an aging workforce: 52.7 percent of construction workers in New York City are between the ages of 25 and 45. Also, 31.9 percent of workers are 50 or older (up almost 2 percent from 2019), while 4.9 percent are under 25 years old (down 1.6 percent from 2019).


A full copy of the report can be found here.




About The New York Building Congress:

The New York Building Congress, a broad-based membership association celebrating its 101st year, is committed to promoting the growth and success of the construction industry in New York City and its environs. Learn more about the New York Building Congress at

Published on

Nov 3, 2022 by New York Building Congress