Employment of structural and reinforcing iron and metal workers is expected to grow about as fast as average for all occupations through the year 2014, largely on the basis of projected growth in nonresidential and heavy construction. The rehabilitation, maintenance, and replacement of a growing number of older buildings, powerplants, highways, and bridges is expected to create employment opportunities. State and federal legislatures continue to support and fund the building of roads, which will secure jobs for the near future. In addition to new jobs that arise, many job openings will result from the need to replace experienced ironworkers who leave the occupation or retire.
In most areas job opportunities should be good for those with the right qualifications, although the number of job openings can fluctuate from year to year with economic conditions and the level of construction activity. During economic downturns, ironworkers can experience periods of unemployment. Similarly, job opportunities for ironworkers may vary widely by geographic area. Population growth in the South and West should create more job opportunities than elsewhere as buildings and roads are constructed to meet the needs of the people. Job openings for ironworkers usually are more abundant during the spring and summer months, when the level of construction activity increases. Workers who are willing to relocate are often able to find work in another area.