chapter  2
36 Pages

The American Construction Industry: An Overview

Construction has been a significant aspect of the human struggle against nature's elements, long before market economic relations came to dominate it and virtually every other form of human enterprise. From the earliest shelters to 21st century structures, the issues inherent in construction create a link across the millennia. Today, construction is a vibrant industry in the United States, accounting for $480 billion of output, or 4.8 percent of the gross domestic product; and employing 6.5 million workers, or 5 percent of the labor force. Yet the modern construction industry is inherently plagued by market instability, employment gyrations, and investment fluctuations, giving rise to pronounced periods of boom and bust.