- National Association of Home Builders economists, after examining Census data from the 2013 American Community Survey, have determined the average age of U.S. construction workers (42) is older than the average age of the overall workforce (41).
- The age of workers also varies by region, with median ages highest in the Northeast and parts of the Midwest. States with the highest median age of 45 are Maine, New Hampshire and Connecticut, while the youngest median ages are in Utah (36) and North Dakota (38).
- The NAHB also found the median ages of workers in certain construction trades follow a pattern. Workers with younger median ages occupy trades such as helpers, roofers and laborers, while older median ages fill managerial, supervisory and equipment operator positions. However, the trade with the oldest median age of 53 is that of paperhanger.
The NAHB pointed out that attracting younger workers into the construction industry to fill the place of aging ones will require an ongoing effort in the face of the chronic labor shortage plaguing the industry for the past few years.
The industry has seen impressive construction numbers over the last few months — 31,000 jobs added in October and 46,000 in November — but that jump has been widely attributed to an uptick in recruitment efforts and increased wages.
Nevertheless, in a BLS report last week, the agency drew attention to problem areas of the general workforce, including construction. Those problems include an aging workforce and lack of younger people entering the workforce. The Associated General Contractors of America has long been warning of the need to develop a pipeline of new workers in the industry and, in its Workforce Development Plan, advocates for an increase in technical and career school education as a means to that end.
Aside from paperhangers, the trades with the oldest median age workers are construction building inspectors (52), first-line construction supervisors/managers (47), construction managers (47) and construction equipment operators (46). The youngest median ages in construction can be found performing as explosives workers (31); helpers (31); derrick, rotary drill and service unit operators (33) and miscellaneous extraction workers (33).