Despite supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic, the outlook for the electrical industry in 2021 is stable and demand for electricians remains strong. On one hand, growth of renewable energy has slowed down, yet it's still contributing to lower energy costs and is the fastest growing source of electric power generation. Work for an electrician is expected to grow significantly this decade.
Inside the Electrical Industry
The electricity business has managed to avoid financial devastation through the pandemic. About 70 percent of electrical distributors were back to work by the fall of 2020, according to a study by Electrical Trends. The industry faced serious challenges in the second quarter of 2020, but by midyear the industry began rebounding.
COVID-19 impacts are still a factor, such as delays and cancellations of projects among distributors. But without these setbacks, sales would be up. About half of distributors have reduced inventory in late 2020, as many manufacturers report declines in reorders. Industry leaders are expecting to see financial data for 2020 to be similar to 2019. While the EIA forecasts U.S. electricity consumption will fall 2.2 percent from the previous year, residential use will rise by 3.2 percent.
Future of Electrical Work
It's possible to switch careers to an electrician if all you have is a high school diploma. Careers often start with apprenticeships and no prior experience or specific education required, although you can also take the path through a technical school. On average the job pays about $27 per hour, according to the Bureau on Labor Statistics. The BLS expects job growth in the electrical industry to be faster than other professions at 8 percent from 2019 through 2029.
The demand for electricians will remain strong for years, as homeowners and businesses commonly need wiring work done or redone. Companies transforming to IoT solutions will need help installing devices and setting up new infrastructures. Electric utility companies particularly will need more technicians and analysts to make sense of the massive amount of big data collected on operational processes.
Geography turns out to be an important factor as to how much income an electrical technician can earn. The top five states for electricians, according to a study by Zippia, are Alaska, Wyoming, New Hampshire, Nevada and Oregon. In each of these states the average annual salary for the profession is over $57,000. The states that pay the highest salaries are Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Michigan and Indiana.