Employment of ironworkers is projected to grow 9 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will vary by specialty.
Employment of structural iron and steel workers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations.
Employment of reinforcing iron and rebar workers is projected to grow 23 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. However, because it is a small occupation, the fast growth will result in only about 4,400 new jobs over the 10-year period.
Steel and reinforced concrete are an important part of commercial and industrial buildings. Future construction of these structures is anticipated to create demand for ironworkers.
The need to rehabilitate, maintain, or replace an increasing number of older highways and bridges is also expected to lead to some employment growth, particularly because state and federal legislatures will likely fund these infrastructure projects. Growth will be limited if long-term infrastructure plans are not funded.
Those who are certified in welding, rigging, and crane signaling should have the best job opportunities. Those with prior military service are viewed favorably during initial hiring.
Employment opportunities should be best in metropolitan areas, where most large commercial and industrial buildings are constructed.
As with many other construction workers, employment of ironworkers is sensitive to fluctuations of the economy. On the one hand, workers may experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of construction falls. On the other hand, shortages of workers may occur in some areas during peak periods of building activity.
Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24
Reinforcing iron and rebar workers
Construction trades workers
Total, all occupations
Structural iron and steel workers
Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program