This report provides a detailed description and analysis of labor employed by highway contractors, covering such aspects as total numbers employed; distribution and trends by sex, minority groups, and occupational classifications and groupings; hourly, weekly, and annual earnings; length of workweek; seasonality; unemployment; unionization; and productivity. Comparisons are made with conditions in general building construction, special trade contract construction, and heavy contract construction other than highway, and between construction, manufacturing, and the total economy. Data for this study were obtained in 1974. Although data have been available for the subdivisions of the contract construction industry since 1958, no known analysis has been made to date focusing on the highway construction phase, as such. As indicated by the conclusions made in this study, highway construction employment characteristics and conditions are atypical in many respects, varying considerably from those in other phase of construction. In illustration: Employment on highways expanded considerably (18 percent) over the period 1958-1972, but the rate of growth was less than occurred in other heavy and special trade construction or in total nonagricultural employment. Highway construction workers have received higher hourly and weekly rates than most other construction workers, manufacturing production workers, or wage earners generally in the economy. Yet, special studies reveal that their annual earnings, reflecting intermittent unemployment and greater seasonality, compare unfavorably with those received by many other industry divisions in the economy. Moreover, their earnings are more skewed toward the lower ranges, indicating a heavier concentration in the unskilled and semi-skilled classifications. A comparison of skills required in the various segments of construction show that highway employees laid off in slack periods may not be necessarily equipped to find employment in other heavy construction or in general building. Productivity in highway construction, measured in terms of output per man-hour, grew at an average annual rate of 3.7 percent over the period 1950-1972, compared with

  • Corporate Authors:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Banks, F
  • Publication Date: 1976-3

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 114 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00139703
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FHWA/TE-76/01
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Sep 21 1976 12:00AM