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#21882 - 02/12/03 07:40 AM Job Outlook for Electricians?
macwire Offline

Registered: 11/17/02
Posts: 42
Loc: Philadelphia, PA, USA
Okay, I've danced around this question since I found this board, and have tried to infer things from other contractors' posts, but now I need to ask it straight out: what's the job outlook for electricians in the US, especially with the economy going into the toilet? I'd especially like to hear from those in the Philadelphia/South Jersey area.

Those of you who've corresponded with me know my story: presently an IT tech who is pretty sure his job's on borrowed time. Since the IT job market has gone into the toilet even faster than the general economy, I'm looking to change fields, and I'm hoping the electrical field has better opportunities. Am I right, or is the sinking economy killing every field?

Thanks in advance for all replies,

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Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Arc Flash Clothing, Gloves, KneePads, Tool Belts, Pouches, Tool Carriers, etc. etc....

#21883 - 02/12/03 08:40 AM Re: Job Outlook for Electricians?
cubby964 Offline

Registered: 10/18/02
Posts: 69
Loc: USA
I am not from the east coast area, but just wanted to pass on something I was taught a long time ago: If you can work with your hands, and have a marketable skill, (i.e. a Trade) you can always find work.
Its just a matter of how much you want to prostitute your self. I mean that in a good way. The work is not always glamorous, but it does pay.

I recently took a high paying G.O.O.D JOB (Get Out Of Debt - Just Over Broke) because the economy was faltering, and now I hardly have time to sleep with all the side work I have been offered.
Any way, if you can afford to go broke for a few years, the rewards of a trade will be there forever.
Just don't believe you will get rich doing it! A fair days pay for a fair days work is all you can ask. Good luck!!!

#21884 - 02/12/03 10:15 AM Re: Job Outlook for Electricians?
Big A Offline

Registered: 01/22/03
Posts: 47
Loc: Lynchburg, VA
Hello All,

I couldn't agree with you more cubby964. While the poor economy hasn't helped, I heard that house sales are at their all time high. With mortgages at their lowest ever, people are buying houses left and right. A lot of these people want to upgrade and change things.

I was once told that America is over the industrial age and is now becoming a service based country. People neither have the time nor the knowledge to do electrical work. If you ask me, now is the time to get into the trades. Just ask any contractor who needs a good brick mason. Electricians will always be needed. I hate to say it, but the kids coming up these days just don't want to work anymore. There are less skilled craftsman with every passing generation and every generation needs more skilled craftsman. If you want a job for life, then learning a trade is the way to go.

#21885 - 02/12/03 10:35 AM Re: Job Outlook for Electricians?
HotLine1 Offline


Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 6824
Loc: Brick, NJ USA
The comments stated by the gentlemen above have said most of it.
Learning a trade, and working at that trade will provide you with an income. Tradesmen are always "in demand"
I'm in NNJ, and although it's quieter lately, there is work. Service people are in demand.


#21886 - 02/12/03 11:13 AM Re: Job Outlook for Electricians?
Pearlfish Offline

Registered: 09/12/02
Posts: 83
Loc: Chicago Ridge, Il, USA
As of todays date, 1114 members of local 134 in Chicago have signed the book as registered and available for work. Granted, this time of year, some of those members are sitting on their boats in Florida. But it is still a scarry number of available bodies out of work!

#21887 - 02/12/03 11:19 AM Re: Job Outlook for Electricians?
macwire Offline

Registered: 11/17/02
Posts: 42
Loc: Philadelphia, PA, USA
That's not good at all. Still, is there a construction slowdown is Chi-town right now? Perhaps weather related?

Anybody have similar info for the locals in Philly and South Jersey?


#21888 - 02/12/03 02:33 PM Re: Job Outlook for Electricians?
sparky Offline

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
the stock market took a dive, so people are investing in housing with the low rates.

the obvious is that there cannot be one section of the economy doing poorly, while another does well , at least for very long.

it'll even out, what's left will be eaten up by whatever supply/demand is out there.

#21889 - 02/12/03 06:54 PM Re: Job Outlook for Electricians?
Nick Offline

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 603
Loc: Riverside, CA
Work is slow everywhere. That 1114 on book 1 in Chicago is pretty depressing. That’s a pretty big local though. Like LA. I think LA has over 7000 members. 153 on book one here. That’s pretty bad for my small local. The High Desert Power Plant has been laying off pretty heavy the last couple of weeks. I couldn't find any good links for you but below you can find addresses and phone numbers to do your own research.

#21890 - 02/14/03 12:43 PM Re: Job Outlook for Electricians?
RandyO Offline

Registered: 09/26/02
Posts: 28
You are In I.T. Now,
How will you handle the EXTREME cut in pay???

If I could start at the bottom again, It would be in Auto machanics.. but 7.50 hr doesn't pay the rent on my boat slip, barely puts gas in my Excersion, and certainly wont put my kids through Collage.

How fast can one get promoted from 7.50 to 30.00 hr in this trade...

Plus, buddy, let me tell you this..
Taping on keyboards or lugging PCs around is a lot different than 10 hr days breaking your back runing wire through conduits.

Nice warm office building to the dead of cold or jet hot summers out doors in the residental field...

20/hr is only 40k yr..Less over time (Whitch we dont get.. but work)Instead of learning a bran new trade, and no matter how much you THINK you know.. you dont, try learning more about what IT stuff you dont know!!!!

Just a few words from some one that HAS worked both sides of the fence.

#21891 - 02/14/03 04:28 PM Re: Job Outlook for Electricians?
macwire Offline

Registered: 11/17/02
Posts: 42
Loc: Philadelphia, PA, USA
The cut in pay won't be that extreme, I'm not making very much now. And I'm aware of the differences in the work environment between an office job and a job in the trades.

As for learning new skills in IT, well, I've not convinced it'll make any difference. I've looked around and the few decent IT jobs there are require a laundry list of skills that few human beings can meet. And by the time I acquire even HALF of those skills, the bar will have shifted again to a new set of skills and I'd STILL be out of luck.

I know what I'm talking about, I've been playing catchup on my IT skills ever since I decided to enter the IT field, over 9 years ago while in college. Learning as much as I could as I went. Yet it's still not good enough, all I could get after graduation was an entry-level grunt job that pays just a couple dollars more an hour than a brand-new electrical apprentice.

Don't even get me started on how badly the IT job market in the US sucks right now. People with much better skills than I can't get work. If I get laid off right now, I doubt I'll be able to find work in the field again.

I've seen the writing on the wall, so I'm trying to get out before I'm kicked out.


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