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Connecticut Economic Digest: October 2007 issue
Who is Moving into Connecticut? | Occupation profile: Construction Managers

Who is Moving into Connecticut?
By Jessy George, Research Analyst, DOL

According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, Connecticut's population increased by 99,207 between 2000 and 2006. The latest estimates indicate there was net in-migration of about 6,800 between 2004 and 2005 and 4,100 between 2005 and 2006. It is interesting to see who is entering the state, as well as who is leaving, from many different perspectives. Population growth and the characteristics of the individuals that contribute to that growth are of particular interest to those concerned about labor force availability.

Characteristics of the in- and out-migrants are not available from the Census Bureau's current population estimates program. Some characteristics, like age, sex, income, education attained, etc. are available through the American Community Survey (ACS). Although the ACS sample provides results with fairly sizeable margins of error, particularly with respect to subsets of the data, this survey provides a view of Connecticut residents (civilian and military) by place of residence, including those who were living out of state one year ago. The latest data for which these details are available is for 2005.

In-Migration

About 78,700 individuals moved into the state in 2005, according to ACS, bringing to 3,355,800 the number of individuals that were one year of age and older and members of households in 2005. Comparisons of the characteristics of the 78,700 who resided out of state in 2004 (in-migrants) with the 2,957,000 who resided in state (native population) show that the in-migrants tended to be younger. Over 65 percent of the in-migrants were 15 to 49 years of age compared with 47 percent of the native population in Connecticut in 2004.

Of the 2,300,600 Connecticut residents age 25 and over in 2005, nearly 50,000 lived out of state a year earlier.

Geographic Mobility of State Residents

Of the 3,355,800 individuals that were 1 year of age and older and members of households in 2005, about 398,800 (11.9% - more than one in every ten) resided in a different house in 2004. Among them, about 63 percent moved within the same county while almost 13 percent moved from a different county within Connecticut. About 5 percent of these individuals were from abroad and almost 20 percent moved to Connecticut from a different state.

From the ACS data, almost 72 percent of those who moved to Connecticut from out of state in 2005 had some college education or higher compared with just over 58 percent of the native population. Of the 12,000 in-migrants from abroad, 72 percent were highly educated.

Income of In-migrants

More native residents, age 15 years and older, reported incomes in the highest and lowest income ranges. However, comparably greater portions of in-migrants reported incomes in the next-to-highest and next-to-lowest income ranges. As a result, the proportions with incomes below $15,000 and above $65,000 were about the same for natives and in-migrants.

So Who is Moving to CT?

In essence, the majority of people who moved into Connecticut in 2005 were between the ages of 15 and 49, with about half of those under age 30. More than seven in ten had education beyond high school, with 50 percent holding a bachelors degree or higher. Except for those in the very low and very high income ranges, their incomes were distributed similarly to those of native residents. Overall, this perspective from 2005 indicates that a younger, more educated population, attached to the labor force, is moving into Connecticut.

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Occupation profile: Construction managers
By Cynthia L. DeLisa, Research Analyst, DOL

"The project could be going smoothly in the morning, and a single call can change everything. Next you're strategizing to keep the situation under control this presents endless challenges there's never a boring day at work." Jimmy, Construction Project Manager

The world record for juggling is held by a man who can juggle 12 balls at one time. What does this have to do with construction managers? Plenty! Most managers have to 'juggle' several things at once. They must deal with weather, workers, and architects. They have to communicate with clients, inspectors, and financial officers. In addition, they have to deal with subcontractors including the electricians, plumbers, and painters, as well as the graders, pavers, and drywall installers. Hey, that's twelve different elements they already have to deal with and, unlike the juggler, the construction manager juggles all these things every workday.

Coordinating one aspect of a construction project is a difficult task. But coordinating the entire process, from initial planning and foundation work, through the final coat of paint in the last room, takes someone with superior managerial skills, an exceptional force of will, and a clear aura of patience. Being a construction manager demands organization, attention to detail, an ability to see the 'big picture,' and an understanding of all facets of the construction process, usually acquired through years of experience. A construction manager is the intermediary between his clients and his workers, between the architect and his subcontractors, and between the project and any regulatory personnel. The wide range of responsibilities that the construction manager faces means that he should have a wide variety of skills and knowledge, including plumbing, basic electrician training, standard construction techniques, blueprint reading, budgeting, and purchasing.

The most underrated skill a construction manager needs is the ability to convince and persuade. He may have to assure a client that a last minute change suggested by the architect will mean countless delays or cost increases, or sway an unmotivated subcontractor to complete his job as required under contract. "You can always do your job better if you can make other people do their jobs better," says Jimmy. The ability to motivate and demand good work has to be tempered with understanding the limits of your workers, and knowing when a change in plans already underway is worth fighting for and when it is not.

Construction project managers are responsible for obtaining all necessary permits and licenses and, depending upon the contractual arrangements, directing or monitoring compliance with building and safety codes and other regulations. They may be 'on call' 24-hours a day to deal with delays, the effects of bad weather or on-site emergencies. Most work more than a 40-hour week, and this grueling schedule may last for weeks in order to meet project deadlines. Aside from the high level of day-to-day stress this occupation fosters, the sense of satisfaction in a job well done among those in this industry is priceless. Workers in this profession work very hard, but they are rewarded immensely for the large burdens they take on.

Climbing the Ladder

Practical hands-on experience is a requirement in this field. For the most part, construction managers enter their careers as construction workers after high school (either as a plumber's assistant, carpenter, concrete, or steel structure worker), and decide later on to manage construction sites. A number of them follow their dreams through apprenticeship programs, two-year junior college programs, or classes at accredited universities in mathematics, building codes, and blueprint reading. On-the-job experience is the best training; anyone interested in this field should get as broad an experience as possible in the construction industry before going back for further education.

Most aspiring construction managers are in training programs, which combine academic rigor with physical labor. Most work on-site as assistants to construction managers, and act as the contact between construction workers and the manager on that job. The majority of the training program is spent learning the trade, local building codes, construction methodology, and how to communicate effectively with subcontractors. This experience, while financially unrewarding, is invaluable. In 2007, the entry-level wage for construction managers employed in Connecticut was $60,000.

"Busy" is an understatement for the construction managers with five years under his belt. They are supervising all stages of the construction project, as well as managing all filings with local authorities. On-the-job stress is significant. Client-communication skills are generally mastered in years four through eight, and construction managers can find themselves spending what they believe to be too much time in meetings and too little time supervising on-site. In 2007, the average wage for construction managers employed in Connecticut was $93,000.

Ten-year veterans have established their reputations in the industry. They spend long hours at the construction site, but have learned how to delegate. Client contact is critical at this stage. Many construction managers find work through connections and word of mouth. Ten-year managers manage people on a daily basis less frequently, but they oversee all work of a project and sign off on it before moving crews to different areas of responsibility. Job satisfaction at this stage is high, but the 24-hour workday is stressful. In 2007, a construction manager in Connecticut with 10+ years experience may earn over $145,000 a year, plus bonuses.

Job Outlook

In 2007, Connecticut had 2,100 construction manager jobs. Excellent employment opportunities for construction managers are expected through 2014 because the number of job openings will exceed the number of qualified individuals seeking to enter the occupation. The construction industry often does not attract a sufficient number of qualified job seekers because it is often seen as having poor working conditions. More construction managers will be needed as the level of construction projects continues to grow in the State. Many factors should drive job growth, including the increase of new construction and remodeling of homes, factories, public buildings and roadways. Still, it is important to keep in mind that construction jobs depend on and thrive in a healthy economy.

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Published by the Connecticut Department of Labor, Office of Research
Last Updated: October 2, 2007