I was recently reading about the walls and ceiling industry in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2002-2003 Edition and found some encouraging information about the years to come. The bottom line: Although, as we know, skilled labor remains a challenge, there will be no shortage of demand for that labor.
The Handbook reports that drywall installers, ceiling tile installers and tapers held about 188,000 jobs in 2000, with most employed by contractors specializing in drywall and ceiling tile installation; others worked for contractors doing many kinds of construction and about 38,000 were self-employed independent contractors.
Another statistic: Most installers and tapers are employed in populous areas. In other areas, where there may not be enough work to keep a drywall or a ceiling tile installer employed full time, carpenters and painters usually do the work.
The best news is about the job outlook. According to the Handbook, job opportunities for drywall installers, ceiling tile installers and tapers are expected to be excellent through 2010, partly because of a shortage of adequate training programs. In addition to traditional interior work, the growing acceptance of insulated exterior wall systems will provide additional jobs for drywall workers. Another point the Handbook made is that many potential workers may prefer work that is less strenuous and has more comfortable working conditions, meaning existing well-trained workers will have especially favorable opportunities.
The Handbook states that employment is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations over the 2000-10 period, reflecting increases in new construction and remodeling. The Handbook also acknowledges the commonplace turnover of workers less skilled and, therefore, perhaps less attached to their professions if other employment comes along. The lesson here is to give workers a reason to stay.
Information on earnings shows that in 2000, the median hourly earnings of drywall and ceiling tile installers were $15.80. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.27 and $20.81. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.68 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $26.86. The median hourly earnings in the largest industries employing drywall and ceiling tile installers in 2000 were:
o Non-residential building construction: $16.18;
o Residential building construction: $15.96; and
o Masonry, stonework and plastering: $15.93
According to the Handbook, in 2000, the median hourly earnings of tapers were $17.81. The middle 50 percent earned between $13.99 and $23.34. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $11.06 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $27.62. The median hourly earnings of tapers in 2000 in masonry, stonework and plastering were $17.67.
The information in this Handbook is encouraging. Even with a shortage of new skilled labor, it presents an optimistic outlook for the years to come. This outlook offers a very strong incentive to potential workers: the need is there, the work is there. With job security, a fair wage and a future nearly guaranteed to those who do quality work, the construction industry appears to look strong, despite constant challenges.
This is uplifting news that provides incentive for contractors to grow and improve.