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More Young Workers Enter Construction Industry, Changing Median Worker Age

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Labor + Trade Relations

More Young Workers Enter Construction Industry, Changing Median Worker Age


August 4, 2021
construction workers
Photo: Blue Planet Studio | stock.adobe.com

More needs to be done for recruiting new workers into the construction trades, says the National Association of Home Builders, but recent data shows a slight increase in young workers. The 2019 American Community Survey found the share of workers under 25 in the construction industry reached 10.8%, up from 9.7% in 2015. Consequently, this changed the median age of a construction worker, bringing it from 42 in 2018 to 41 in 2019. On the other hand, the share of workers aged 55 and above increased from 18.1% to 20.3%.

Simultaneously, the share of construction workers ages 25 to 54 decreased from 72.2% in 2015 to 69.0% 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. The chart above shows that, 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.

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