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Housing Rebound Stymied by Spot U.S. Labor Shortages | Bloomberg

Aging Workers from Jeanna Smialek, Bloomberg

Yet longer-term, there may not be enough entrants such as Ologide to replace aging construction workers, said Ken Simonson, chief economist for Associated General Contractors. Echoing demographic shifts in the overall U.S. workforce, the median age of construction and extraction workers in 2012 was 41.4, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data, up from 38.2 in 2007 and 37.9 in 2000.

“Construction was already losing out among high school students, and that was before the recession,” Simonson said, saying that the “extra-deep” drop during the recession might discourage young people from entering the field. “It’s dirty, it’s cyclical, it’s all of those things.”

Highly skilled construction workers such as master plumbers are aging out of the field, and there may be a shortage of younger Americans with the time-intensive training needed to replace them, said NAHB chief lobbyist James Tobin.

In a 2010 study, the Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College found that of 58 construction firms surveyed, half said that an aging workforce would “negatively” or “very negatively” affect their business.