Recently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released a list of job salaries of 19 construction jobs that only required a high school diploma or equivalent. It was interesting to see the wide range of median pay within that group ($78,620 for elevator Installers and repairmen vs. $30,190 for a general construction laborer and helper), but many of the construction trades were left off of the list. Now, the NCCER has released the results of a 2015 survey, which lists the average salaries of 31 construction trades.
With average salaries of the 31 trades ranging anywhere from $47,166 (scaffold builder) to $88,675 (Project Manager), you’re going to see some different numbers in this list as compared to the one from the BLS. The BLS report used median salary, whereas the NCCER report used the average salary. The NCCER data was also compiled from a survey of 90 construction groups. “Since many craft professionals receive overtime, per diem, project bonuses and other pay incentives, their take-home pay is typically much greater than the salaries listed in this survey,” said the NCCER in a news release.
Below are the top 10 highest paid construction trades. To see the full list of 31 trades, click here to view NCCER’s results.
10. Pipe Welder - $62,509
9. Millwright - $64,062
8. Mobile Crane Operator - $64,843
7. Instrumentation Technician - $67,380
6. Powerline Worker - $70,217
5. Combo Welder - $70,535
4. Power Generation Technician - $70,720
3. Tower Crane Operator - $77,535
2. Project Supervisor - $77,917
1. Project Manager - $88,675
Again, to see the rest of the list, please visit NCCER’s final survey results here.
Despite having the 8th highest cost of living in the country, New Jersey relatively high construction wages were enough to keep them in the top 20. According to MERIC, it costs 22.5% more to live in the state, as compared to the national average.
West Virginia is either the southern most northern state and the northern most southern state, but either way it has done well and landed at #18 on our countdown. The wildest and wonderfullest state was helped on our list by having a cost of living 4.1% lower than the national average, according to MERIC, moving it approximately 8 spots up the list.
Over the past few years, it has been abundantly clear that many contractors have their choice of work and not enough resources to handle all of the opportunities. That abundance commonly leads to the labor field being able to bounce between companies for quick wage increases, leaving company owners and management struggling to keep fully staffed with qualified people.
Louisiana, home of jazz music, gumbo, and next door neighbor to #20 Texas, is the first one on our list to reach the teens in the rankings. America’s most swamp heavy state benefits from a low cost of living, 5.4% below the national average, according to MERIC.
You may have been sitting in your house or office one day and noticed the distinct sound of a bird hitting the window. It’s pretty common, as it’s estimated that as many as 988 million birds die in the US each year by colliding into glass. The new arena that will house the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks has incorporated some design elements that will reduce the amount of birds killed by the massive structure, allowing it to be dubbed the “World’s Most Bird Friendly Sports Arena.”
The construction industry ranks first in total suicides and second in suicide rate compared to all other industries in the United States, according to a 2016 study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). This sad fact led more than 75 industry groups to form an alliance to combat the epidemic in 2016. Some of the members recently met in in Washington DC to help construction companies to better address mental health issues among their workers.
Texas is the second largest state in the entire country by land area, trailing only Alaska. It’s significant land mass and relatively low population density help the state have a very low cost of living, according to MERIC, at 9.4% below average. That allowed Texas to drop over 12 spots in our ranking.
Just over a year ago, in September of 2017, Hurricane Irma blew through Miami, Florida, bringing extremely high speed wind with it. The wind caused 3 cranes to collapse in southern Florida, 2 in downtown Miami and 1 more in Ft. Lauderdale. Interesting video of the dismantling of one of the failed cranes was shared on Youtube.
In September of 2017, OSHA’s new standard on exposure to respirable crystalline silica went into effect in the construction industry. The rule lowered the allowable exposure to the harmful substance to 50 micrograms per cubic meter, a measurement that we’re all familiar with [/sarcasm]. After a full year of enforcement, OSHA is considering making a change to the rule.
Connecticut is a relatively small state with a very high population density, ranking 48th in total area and 4th in density. The state also has a very high cost of living, at 16.5% above the national average, according to MERIC.