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Are Construction Workers Essential Workers?

[fa icon="calendar"] Jan 5, 2021 12:19:40 PM / by Construct Your Future

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Construction trades have always been essential, long before the words pandemic, COVID, quarantine, and coronavirus were part of everyday life. Construction is the lifeblood of our nation’s progress and welfare, providing infrastructure and services that are critical to all aspects of our everyday lives. So when asked “Are Construction Workers Essential Workers?” the answer is a resounding and multifaceted YES!

Construction Trades Have Always Been Essential


The construction trades provide services that are essential to the health, safety, and welfare of our society. Nothing can move forward without the services that the construction trades provide: electricity, shelter, access to clean running water, transportation, infrastructure - the list goes on and on! The construction trades provide the necessary physical structures and infrastructure required for all other sectors. In a way, the construction trades are the most essential of all - everything else is, and always has been, dependent on them.

Construction Trades Essential in COVID-19 Crisis Response

When the pandemic hit, the federal government and the states issued guidance about sectors that are considered essential. Of the 42 states with essential worker orders or directives, 20 defer to the federal definitions developed by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Of the many sectors deemed essential by CISA, all are directly in the construction trades (e.g., energy and transportation), or supported by the construction trades (e.g., manufacturing, utilities, healthcare, and telecommunications).

The remaining 22 states who have issued essential worker orders have developed their own lists of who needs to be continuing to work under stay-at-home orders. Once again, these critical sectors are in the construction trades or supported by them, including: energy, transportation, water and waste management and healthcare. Many states define construction workers as essential overall, especially as hospitals retrofitted and upgraded their facilities to meet the demand of increasing COVID patients.

While some states did temporarily halt all construction work at the onset of the pandemic, now almost all deem construction trades essential.

Construction Trades Essential for Economic Recovery

The construction industry employs over 7 million people, and creates nearly $1.3 trillion worth of structures each year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. With numbers like that, it’s no surprise that the construction industry is a driving force in the strength of our economy, and will be essential to our recovery.

Many other sectors had their plans put on hold due to COVID-19. Now, they are ready to move forward, but cannot do so without the needed physical structures and infrastructure provided by the building trades. The trades are indispensable and critical to our economy’s recovery and growth.


Want to do meaningful work, day in and day out? Look no further than a career in the construction trades, the most essential industry, pandemic or not. Learn more at

Topics: construction industry, construction jobs, construction outlook, careers, United States Construction, career opportunities, construction workers, COVID-19

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