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Infrastructure Jobs Account For Far More Than ‘Shovel Ready’ Construction

A new study reveals infrastructure employs 1 in 8 Houstonian workers.

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Mention “infrastructure jobs,” and the image that leaps to most people’s minds is that of construction. But a new study from the Brookings Institution finds that infrastructure work covers a much broader segment of the U.S. economy – ranging from truck driving to telecommunications repair.

The study finds that, in 2012, more than 14 million workers were employed in infrastructure jobs across the country, accounting for 11 percent of total employment. The majority of such jobs focus on operating infrastructure, rather than on construction.

“In the Houston metropolitan area alone, it’s about 12.5 percent of all workers that are involved in managing our transportation infrastructure, our water infrastructure, and especially our energy infrastructure,” said Joseph Kane, Brookings researcher and the report’s lead author.

The number of infrastructure-related jobs is expected to grow by 9 percent over the next decade. Among the fastest growing occupations will be in renewable energy, including for wind turbine service technicians and solar voltaic installers.

In addition, nearly a quarter of the existing infrastructure workforce will need to be replaced, in large part due to retirements.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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