late 14c. (from c.1100 as a surname), "a worker in any sort of lead" (roofs, gutters, pipes), from Old French plomier "lead-smelter" (Modern French plombier) and directly from Latin plumbarius "worker in lead," noun use of adjective meaning "pertaining to lead," from plumbum "lead" (see plumb (n.)). Meaning focused 19c. on "workman who installs pipes and fittings" as lead water pipes became the principal concern of the trade. In U.S. Nixon administration (1969-74), the name of a special unit for investigation of "leaks" of government secrets.
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General employment within the construction sector is sensitive to changes in the economy. But job growth for plumbers is projected to be faster than the average for all jobs. New buildings and residences are being built to comply with stricter water efficiency standards and companies housed in older structures are hoping to retrofit to use more energy-efficient systems, so opportunities are in abundance. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there should be a hiring spurt of 16 percent for plumbers by the year 2026, which translates to about 75,800 new jobs.