Our Aging Population & The Trades

by Jim Olsztynski | October 20, 2017 | Job Security | 0 Comments

In my last blog I drew attention to opportunities created for trade work by devastation from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Tens of thousands of homes and commercial buildings need to be rebuilt or repaired.

Eventually, they will be. That will take place over the coming months and years. So it’s a short-term boost to the construction economy.

Another trend is taking place under our eyes that holds longer term promise for prosperity to those engaged in trade work, especially the skilled trades like plumbing, HVAC and electrical. That’s our aging population.

The so-called “baby boomer” generation consists of person born between 1946 and 1964. Studies show that they comprise the most affluent demographic group in our country, thanks to income from Social Security, pensions and investments, along with persistent gains in home prices throughout most of their lives. Around 80 percent of them own their homes, many purchased decades ago for a small fraction of their present worth.

As people age, and especially if they have a fair amount of disposable income, they are less inclined to tackle strenuous do-it-yourself repair and remodeling jobs around the house. When a faucet breaks down, they are more apt to call a plumber than attempt to fix it themselves.

According to a recent report from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, about two-thirds of these senior citizens have indicated they plan to “age in place,” meaning they will continue living in their homes until death or disability forces them out. That means many of them are remodeling their homes with “universal design” features to accommodate aging muscles, wheelchairs and other accoutrements of the aging process. The Harvard study predicts a 10-year boom in remodeling expenditures.

When evaluating career options, it’s smart to look ahead and figure out where the best-paying jobs are likely to come from in years to come. Our aging population presents a dilemma for some types of businesses, but promises nothing but work galore for the skilled trades.