Recent Census data reveals that the average age of workers in the construction industry exceeds the average age of the overall labor force. Data from the 2013 American Community Survey (ACS) reveal that the median age of a worker in the overall construction sector is 42. This estimate is for both the residential and nonresidential construction industries. A median of 42 compares to a slightly younger median age of 41 for the overall workforce of the United States.
Moreover, the ACS data presents regional patterns. Median ages tend to be somewhat higher in the Northeast and parts of the Midwest. For example, the median age of construction workers is 45 in the states of Maine, New Hampshire and Connecticut. Lower median ages are found in states in the central part of the nation, with the youngest medians found in Utah (36) and North Dakota (38).
The states for which the median for construction is two years higher than the overall median include Pennsylvania, New York, Missouri, Michigan, Kentucky, Illinois, Hawaii, Florida and Connecticut. North and South Dakota are the two states for which the median for construction is two years younger than the overall median age of workers in the state.
The ACS data also permit an examination of median age by occupations. These occupations include workers in and outside the construction industry itself (for example, construction workers in the energy sector).
Construction occupations with younger median ages include construction trade helpers, roofers and laborers. Older occupations include managerial positions such as construction supervisors and construction managers as well as equipment operators.
Given ongoing labor access issues in the industry, attracting the next generation of construction workers will be a challenge the sector will face in the coming years.