Our latest post for Forbes delves into the widespread aging of skilled-trade workers, an issue that’s more noticeable among occupations such as machinery maintenance workers — and in parts of the U.S. such as the Northeast and parts of the Rust Belt. This is a topic that impacts high school and postsecondary education leaders, workforce development professionals, companies looking for this kind of talent, and others.
Here’s an excerpt:
In 2012, 53 percent of skilled-trade workers in the U.S. were 45 years and older, according to EMSI, and 18.6 percent were between the ages of 55 and 64. (We are using the Virginia Manufacturers Association’s definition of skilled trades, which encompasses 21 particular occupations.)
Contrast those numbers with the overall labor force, where 44 percent of workers were at least 45 years old, and 15.5 percent of jobs were held by the 55-to-64 demographic.
Those are just the national figures; in Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey and New Hampshire, more than 60 percent of the skilled-trades labor force is 45 or older. Other Northeastern states such as Delaware, Maine and New York also have aging skilled-trades workforces, as do Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The following table shows the share of 45-plus and 55-plus workers for each state. If the Northeast in general has older skilled-trade workers, Western and Great Plains states on the whole are in much better shape. South Dakota in particular has the lowest share of workers who are at least 55 years old, at 13.1%.
Note: This data comes from EMSI’s latest dataset (2013.1), via the U.S. Census Bureau’s Quarterly Workforce Indicators and American Community Survey. (While QWI provides workforce demographics for industries only, we use ACS and staffing patterns to derive occupational estimates).
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Data for this post comes from Analyst, EMSI’s web-based labor market data and analysis tool. For more information, contact Josh Wright (email@example.com). Follow us on Twitter @DesktopEcon.