Big Payday

Need a job but don't have a college degree? Here's where the money is

No college degree? Here’s where you should get a job

Almost a decade after the housing boom of the mid-2000s turned into an epic bust, construction jobs are coming back. Check it out. Job openings in the field are hitting their highest levels since the house-flipping frenzy of 2005 and 2006.

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And even better, pay increases in construction are surging, as the industry tries to win back a workforce that got hammered in the aftermath of the housing crises. Average hourly wages of construction workers — the production workers, not the managers — were up 5 percent in September compared to the same month last year. That’s on par with some of the fastest pay-rate increases we saw back in the mid-2000s.

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This is especially good news for those concerned with the decline of men in the U.S. labor force. Just 88.6 percent of working-age American men (25-54) were working or looking for a job in September, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s down sharply over the past  30 years. During the mid-1980s it was around 94 percent. As a result of that decline, millions of men have seemingly disappeared from the U.S. job market.

Men who aren’t in the labor force usually don’t have college degrees. And in recent years, construction has been one of the best places for people without college degrees to get a good-paying job. So this is good news. But anybody who’s now tempted to try out the hard-hat life should know that the industry is deeply cyclical. When times are good, like now, money and jobs can be relatively easy to come by. But when the economy hits the skids, look out, the layoffs can come fast.

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