One of the most relevant facts about carpentry is that of the 901,200 carpenters employed in 2012, most worked in the construction industry, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. Carpentry includes cutting, shaping, installing and constructing buildings, furniture and other wood structures, such as stairways and rafters.
Modern carpentry in the United States has existed since the first half of the 17th century, when colonists began constructing their homes. In particular, the Shakers are usually credited with pioneering what became modern-day carpentry. This religious group constructed and maintained their villages and had a reputation for high-quality wood crafts. They invented the circular saw, which revolutionized the way that carpenters cut wood.
The versatility of carpentry means carpenters perform a multitude of tasks. They insulate office buildings, install drywall or kitchen cabinets and construct tall buildings and bridges. Most carpenters work full time and often work overtime. Carpenters usually qualify by completing a three- or four-year apprenticeship or training program. Carpentry requires knowing how to make precise measurements and how to use different tools and materials, such as saws, hammers, screwdrivers and plywood sheets, appropriately. Carpentry also requires good hand-eye coordination to avoid injuries and damage to materials.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment opportunities for carpenters to grow by up to 24 percent by 2022, a much faster rate than many other industries. This is because of estimated increases in new-home construction, home-remodeling projects and the need to repair and replace roads and bridges and make other infrastructure improvements.