The construction industry is a vital component of every OECD economy. The construction sector is responsible for building new houses, apartments, factories, offices and schools. It also builds roads, bridges, ports, railroads, sewers and tunnels, among many other things. In addition, it maintains and repairs all of those structures and produces the basic materials such as concrete that are used to make them. The industry’s significance is due not only to the fact that it provides the buildings and infrastructure on which virtually every other sector depends, but to the fact that it is such a sizeable sector in its own right. The construction industry is Europe’s largest industrial employer, accounting for about seven percent of total employment, and in the EU, the US and Japan combined, it employs more than 40 million people. Among all OECD countries, the construction industry accounts for an average of 6.47 percent of GDP.