Skilled labor jobs offer employment opportunities

By The Associated Press

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — The owner of a Hattiesburg plumbing business says his field is growing. John David McElhaney of McElhaney Plumbing and Hardware says it’s physically demanding but a fairly easy trade to get into.

The Hattiesburg American reports that the weak job market is prompting many young adults to pursue careers as skilled laborers — jobs that pay well and don’t need a four-year degree.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that between 2010 and 2020, jobs for stonemasons will grow 40 percent, those for plumbers by 26 percent and construction equipment operator jobs by 23 percent.

It says annual median pay for stonemasons is about $45,400; for plumbers between $28,300 to $82,300; and about $39,500 for equipment operators.

They’re among many jobs requiring only vocational-technical training or a two-year degree.