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Jobs Outlook: Plasterers & Stucco Masons




Job opportunities for plasterers and stucco masons are expected to be good through 2014. Many potential workers choose not to enter this occupation because they prefer work that is less strenuous and has more comfortable working conditions. Most job openings will be the result of plasterers and stucco masons transferring to other occupations or leaving the labor force. The best employment opportunities should continue to be in Florida, California, and the Southwest, where exterior plaster and decorative finishes are expected to remain popular. Plastering in the Northeast continues to remain in demand, especially in restoration.

Employment of plasterers and stucco masons is expected to grow more slowly than average for all occupations through the year 2014. In past years, employment of plasterers declined as more builders switched to drywall construction. This decline has halted, however, and employment of plasterers is expected to grow as a result of the appreciation for the durability and attractiveness that troweled finishes provide. Thin-coat plastering—or veneering—in particular is gaining wide acceptance as more builders recognize its ease of application, durability, quality of finish, and sound-proofing and fire-retarding qualities, although the increased use of fire sprinklers will reduce the demand for fire-resistant plaster work. Prefabricated wall systems and new polymer-based or polymer-modified acrylic exterior insulating finishes also are gaining popularity, particularly in the South and Southwest regions of the country. This is not only because of their durability, attractiveness, and insulating properties, but also because of their relatively low cost. In addition, plasterers will be needed to renovate plasterwork in old structures and to create special architectural effects, such as curved surfaces, which are not practical with drywall materials.

Most plasterers and stucco masons work in construction, where prospects fluctuate from year to year due to changing economic conditions. Bad weather affects plastering less than other construction trades because most work is indoors. On exterior surfacing jobs, however, plasterers and stucco masons may lose time because plastering materials cannot be applied under wet or freezing conditions.