The following article is as posted on September 2, 2021 on www.builderonline.com. Photo by Lantz Construction Company.
The latest labor force statistics from the 2019 American Community Survey show that more young people are entering the construction trades.
Labor force statistics from the 2019 American Community Survey show that more young people are entering the construction trades. According to a recent Eye On Housing blog post by Na Zhao, the share of workers younger than 25 reached 10.8% in 2019, compared with 9.7% in 2015. The median age of the construction workforce was 41 in 2019, a year younger than in 2018. Zhao says this is good news for the long-run objective of bringing in a new generation of skilled labor, but more can be done to recruit and retain younger generations.
However, the proportion of older construction workers, ages 55+, also increased from 18.1% to 20.3%. Simultaneously, the share of construction workers ages 25 to 54 decreased from 72.2% in 2015 to 69% in 2019. This change in age composition of construction labor force is largely because the last elements of the baby boomer generation are entering the 55+ group and a large share of skilled workers displaced during the Great Recession left the construction industry.
Compared to the workforce in all industries, construction has a relatively smaller share of younger workers, but a larger proportion of workers in their prime-working age. As of 2019, only 8.7% of construction workers were 20-24 years old and 2.1% under 20, less than the employment share of these two age groups in all industries. Around 69% of construction workforce were in the prime working years of 25-54, compared to 63% in overall workforce.