The Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) is a useful government data set that collects and organizes occupational data, following a comprehensive classification of for-profit activities. This data set defines crane and tower crane operators as workers that “Operate mechanical boom and cable or tower and cable equipment to lift and move materials, machines, or products in many directions. Excludes Excavating and Loading Machine and Dragline Operators”. The distribution of crane and tower crane operators across the different sectors is an interesting indicator of market trends, and the SOC 2018 provides important insight on the market, as shown in the graph above.


Of course, the majority of crane and tower crane operators falls into the category of construction (40% of the total) according to the U.S Occupational Employment Statistics. This sector involves residential and non- residential building constructions, heavy and civil engineering constructions (such as highway, streets, and bridges), as well as specialty trade contractors (e.g. foundation, structure and building exterior contractors).


The manufacturing sector follows with an employment percentage of crane and tower crane operators of 23%. This category entails food, paper, chemical, plastic and rubber products manufacturing, together with nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing. Similarly, Transportation and Warehousing accounts for another 18% of the total employment in 2018. This sector involves rail, water and truck transportation as well as support activities for transportation and warehousing and storage.  Wholesale trade interests 9.4% of cranes and tower cranes workers, followed by the mining sector that constitutes only 3.4% of the total. Note that the percentages for detailed occupations do not sum to 100%, as they do not include self-employed workers.


The industries with the highest proportion of employment for the crane and tower crane occupation, provided by the SOC, should be taken into consideration for further cross-sectional scrutiny. Indeed, further data analysis could provide interesting insights for companies employing tower cranes regarding the wage distribution across different sectors, or the distribution of crane operators in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas.

Interested in more projects? Take a look at other ENG Crane case studies of custom-built cranes here:

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