Employment of ironworkers is projected to grow 22 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. The need to rehabilitate, maintain, or replace a growing number of older highways and bridges is expected to drive employment growth, particularly because state and federal legislatures will likely continue funding these infrastructure projects.
In addition, steel is an important part of commercial and industrial buildings. The construction of these structures should create additional demand for ironworkers.
Those who are certified in welding and rigging should have the best job opportunities. Those with prior military service are also viewed favorably during initial hiring.
As with many other construction workers, employment of ironworkers is sensitive to the 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. Employment opportunities should be best in metropolitan areas, where most large commercial and industrial buildings are constructed.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition