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In recent years, the increased use of drywall (a less expensive substitute for lath and plaster) as a wall covering material has increased the demand for drywall installers while decreasing the demand for lathers. Opportunities for lathers will still remain, though, as the population increases and business growth create good opportunities in the construction industry. Through 2028, the U.S. Department of Labor projects slower-than-average growth for drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, which will experience a 2 percent increase in employment, while plasterers and stucco masons should experience average employment growth of 4 to 6 percent. Most jobs will result from the need to replace workers who retire, transfer, or leave the occupation for other reasons. Lathers who perform specialized work needed for curved or decorative shapes found in commercial buildings and who help restore and preserve historical buildings should have the best employment prospects.

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