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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 (which will grow by 10 percent through 2024, according to the U.S. Department of Labor). 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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