Average Hourly Wage of Heavy Construction Equipment Operators, By State

backhoe

After sharing average hourly wage data for construction laborers, ranked by state, a little over a week ago, I’ve decided to begin doing the same for the other many different construction related professions.  Our second profession that we’ll be analyzing will be heavy equipment operators.

Heavy equipment operators are not only responsible for many of our favorite construction videos, like demolitions and equipment street fights, but are also extremely important to many phases of the construction process.  Operators are on site for much of the heavy lifting, from subgrade and foundation work, to equipment and material hauling.

"Heavy equipment operator" is a fairly vague title, so it’s important to understand what’s not included in this data set.  The official title from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is “Operating Engineer and Other Construction Equipment Operators” and does not include paving and surfaces operators, pile driving operators, or crane operators. All data below comes from the BLS' most recent reports from May 2016.

Graph of Average Hourly Wage of Heavy Construction Equipment Operator, by State

click for larger image

Rankings of Average Hourly Wage of Heavy Construction Equipment Operator, by State

51. Arkansas -- $16.60/hour

50. Georgia -- $17.50/hour

49. North Carolina -- $17.85/hour

48. Alabama -- $18.27/hour

47. South Carolina -- $18.28/hour

46. Florida -- $18.29/hour

45. Maine -- $18.53/hour

44. Mississippi -- $18.66/hour

43. Oklahoma -- $18.89/hour

42. Texas -- $19.28/hour

41. Nebraska -- $19.32/hour

40. Tennessee -- $19.51/hour

39. Kansas -- $19.63/hour

38. Virginia -- $19.96/hour

37. Delaware -- $20.06/hour

36. Louisiana -- $20.10/hour

35. Vermont -- $20.12/hour

34. South Dakota -- $20.23/hour

33. Idaho -- $20.49/hour

32. Kentucky -- $21.04/hour

31. New Mexico -- $21.05/hour

30. Utah -- $21.71/hour

29. West Virginia -- $21.99/hour

28. Arizona -- $22.26/hour

27. Iowa -- $22.63/hour

26. New Hampshire -- $23.01/hour

25. Pennsylvania -- $23.03/hour

24. Colorado -- $23.10/hour

23. Maryland -- $23.43/hour

22. Montana -- $23.46/hour

21. Michigan -- $23.80/hour

20. Oregon -- $25.75/hour

19. Missouri -- $25.81/hour

18. Ohio -- $26.03/hour

17. Indiana -- $26.10/hour

16. Wyoming -- $27.23/hour

15. Wisconsin -- $27.71/hour

14. North Dakota -- $27.84/hour

13. Nevada -- $27.85/hour

12. Rhode Island -- $28.25/hour

11. Minnesota -- $28.89/hour

10. Washington -- $28.94/hour

9. District of Columbia -- $29.43/hour

8. Connecticut -- $31.27/hour

7. Massachusetts -- $32.93/hour

6. California -- $33.09/hour

5. Alaska -- $33.49/hour

4. New Jersey -- $33.55/hour

3. Hawaii -- $35.12/hour

2. New York -- $35.22/hour

1. Illinois -- $36.05/hour

Graph of Average Hourly Wage of Heavy Construction Equipment Operator - Adjusted for Cost of Living, by State

UPDATED 9/18/17: Cost of living in each state also has a large impact on the amount of money construction trades actually bring home, so I'm including a graph that shows each state's adjusted hourly wage based upon the cost of living index for that state.  All cost of living index data comes from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center and was last updated for the second quarter of 2017.  The cost of living index was based upon grocery, housing, utilities, transportation, health, and miscellaneous costs for each state.

 click for larger image

click for larger image

Rankings of Average Hourly Wage of Heavy Construction Equipment Operator - Adjusted for Cost of Living, by State

51. Hawaii--  $11.80/hour

50. District of Columbia--  $13.71/hour

49. Maine--  $16.36/hour

48. Maryland--  $17.10/hour

47. Oregon--  $17.59/hour

46. California--  $18.00/hour

45. South Carolina--  $18.54/hour

44. Florida--  $18.56/hour

43. Arkansas--  $18.69/hour

42. North Carolina--  $18.81/hour

41. Georgia--  $19.15/hour

40. Virginia--  $19.52/hour

39. Vermont--  $19.54/hour

38. Delaware--  $19.62/hour

37. Alabama--  $19.97/hour

36. New Hampshire--  $20.25/hour

35. South Dakota--  $20.31/hour

34. Oklahoma--  $20.82/hour

33. Nebraska--  $20.90/hour

32. Texas--  $21.09/hour

31. Louisiana--  $21.19/hour

30. Mississippi--  $21.37/hour

29. Tennessee--  $21.58/hour

28. Kansas--  $21.65/hour

27. Rhode Island--  $21.95/hour

26. Idaho--  $22.27/hour

25. New Mexico--  $22.29/hour

24. Colorado--  $22.43/hour

23. Kentucky--  $22.45/hour

22. Pennsylvania--  $22.66/hour

21. Utah--  $22.73/hour

20. Massachusetts--  $22.89/hour

19. West Virginia--  $22.89/hour

18. Arizona--  $23.04/hour

17. Montana--  $23.30/hour

16. Alaska--  $23.31/hour

15. New York--  $24.09/hour

14. Iowa--  $24.46/hour

13. New Jersey--  $26.00/hour

12. Michigan--  $26.11/hour

11. Connecticut--  $26.11/hour

10. Nevada--  $26.35/hour

9. Washington--  $26.62/hour

8. Ohio--  $28.03/hour

7. North Dakota--  $28.15/hour

6. Wyoming--  $28.18/hour

5. Missouri--  $28.42/hour

4. Wisconsin--  $28.43/hour

3. Indiana--  $28.50/hour

2. Minnesota--  $28.95/hour

1. Illinois--$37.06/hour