Employment of carpenters is projected to grow 20 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. Population growth should result in new-home construction—the largest segment employing carpenters—which will stimulate the need for many new workers. Demand for carpenters is expected to be driven by home remodeling needs as well.
The need to repair and replace roads and bridges also will spur some employment growth for carpenters. Much of this growth, however, depends on spending by federal and state governments as they attempt to upgrade existing infrastructure.
Construction of factories and powerplants also may result in some new jobs.
Offsetting growth, however, will be the increasing use of modular and prefabricated components. Roof assemblies, walls, stairs, and complete bathrooms are just a few of the prefabricated components that can be manufactured in a separate plant and then assembled onsite by carpenters. The prefabricated components replace the most labor intensive and time consuming onsite building activities.
Overall job prospects for carpenters should improve over the coming decade as construction activity rebounds from the recent recession.
The number of openings is expected to vary by geographic area. Because construction activity parallels the movement of people and businesses, areas of the country with the largest population increases will require the most carpenters.
Employment of carpenters, like that of many other construction workers, is sensitive to fluctuations in the economy. On the one hand, workers in these trades may experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of construction falls. On the other hand, peak periods of building activity may produce shortages of carpenters. Experienced carpenters should have the best job opportunities.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition