Starting Your Career

Even With Low Unemployment, There Are Still Plenty Of Career Opportunities In The Skilled Trades

Jason Burns
Sr Content Strategist

Posted 08/20/2019

If you just finished high school or college, we're guessing you've thought once or twice about what's next. With 44 million American college students currently owing $1.5 trillion (yes, trillion) in student loan debt, we also wouldn't blame you for wanting to hide under your bed until this whole "real world" thing goes away.

There is some good news, though. The unemployment rate in the United States dropped consistently over the last 10 years, and that means it's a great time to find a job. This is especially true for skilled trade workers such as ironworkers, electricians, carpenters, and plumbers. And here's the best part: Many skilled trade jobs don't require you to have a fancy degree and a soul-crushing amount of debt to get started.

Low Unemployment Doesn't Mean "Cake Walk" for Job Hunters

Low unemployment rates are generally considered a good thing, but it's not all puppy dogs and ice cream. When more people are employed, there's less competition in the job market and that's awesome.

But low unemployment rates can also spike employee turnover, which then makes employers more selective as they search for candidates who will stick around. This also means that many employers expect workers to have specialized four-year degrees and be ready to handle a new job with minimal training.

Skip the Debt, Get to Work

Many jobs in the skilled trades offer paid, on-the-job training that lets workers earn a good living without a college education. By some estimates, there are as many as 30 million jobs available in the United States that pay an average of $55,000 annually and don't require a bachelor's degree.

Even with our historically low unemployment numbers, 70% of contractors say they struggle to find qualified workers. The US Department of Labor also predicts that in the next five years there will be 68% more infrastructure jobs available than workers who are trained for them. With so many jobs available in the skilled trades, your lifelong aversion to homework may finally pay off.

Flex Your Skills in the Trades

Starting a career can be a scary process, even in the best job markets, and with today's astronomical tuition costs, it's worth considering a job in the skilled trades. If you think the skilled trades might be for you, check out this article about the top entry-level construction jobs that you can start with no experience needed. It's just one example of the info and resources you'll find about skilled trade jobs at Generation T.