Adobe Stock/Lisa F. Young

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. 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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