Attracting skilled labor is still the primary long-term goal for construction, even though a slowing housing market has eased some pressure on current tight labor market conditions. So how does the construction industry stack up in terms of the age of its workforce?
According to NAHB analysis of the most recent 2021 American Community Survey (ACS) data, the median age of construction workers is 42. That’s one year older than a typical worker in the national labor force.
The median age of construction workforce varies across states. The median age of construction workers is highest in Maine and Vermont (47 years old), followed by New Hampshire and Rhode Island (46 years old), and then Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire and New York (44 years old).
Construction workers are younger on average in the central part of the nation. Half of all construction workers in South Dakota and Utah, for example, are under 38.
Similar patterns emerge when tracking the median age of construction workers against the median age of the workforce in each state. The median age of construction workers in Rhode Island and Alaska, for example, is five years older than the overall median, followed by Vermont (four years older). In South Dakota, on the other hand, the median age of construction workers is two years younger than the overall median.
The map below highlights both the median age of construction workers (color coded by age), as well as the difference between the median age of construction workforce in each state and the median age of the overall workforce. (A positive number indicates that, on average, construction workers are older than a typical worker in the state labor force, while a negative number indicates construction workers are younger.)
Na Zhao, principal economist at NAHB, provides a breakdown of median ages by individual construction job in this Eye on Housing post.