The Top States to Work in Construction: #49 California

California best states to work in construction

For the past 6 months, Construction Junkie has been analyzing hourly wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 25 different construction related professions. The goal was to highlight how workers were compensated in each of the U.S.’ 50 states.

We also counterbalanced the raw hourly wage data with the cost of living index of the states to determine how the pay construction workers in each state was counterbalanced by the cost of groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health, and other miscellaneous costs. All cost of living adjustment data came from Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC).

We’ve previously published a list of The 10 Highest Paid Construction Jobs That Only Require High School Diploma, but we thought it would be interesting to examine each state individually to find out where construction workers can live most comfortably.

To follow along with our state-by-state breakdown of best states to work in construction, click here.

Rankings System

For the purpose of this list, each state’s ranking was determined by calculating the average ranking of hourly wages after being adjusted for cost of living for each of the 25 professions we examined.  There are, of course, many ways to determine how good a state is to work in, but, at the end of the day, all workers have to be able to provide for them and their families, so wages should play a large role. If you see a state ranked #51 in a certain category, that is because Washington DC was included in the original data set, but was not included in this series.

#49 California

Much like Hawaii, which ranked #50 on our countdown, California fell victim to its extremely high cost of living.  The state's raw hourly wage was consistently in the top 15, but it ranks as the second highest cost of living of all the states, which caused it to fall an average of 35.7 spots in the rankings after the adjustment.  Average wages before adjustment for all 25 construction professions combined was a little over $29, but fell to $15.80 after adjusting.  

If you’d like to see the breakdown of a specific profession, click the link the spreadsheet below:

Best Construction Jobs in California

This list is determined by selecting the jobs that were ranked the highest:

1. Solar Panel Installer

2. Elevator Installer

3. Reinforcing Iron and Rebar Worker

4. Construction Building Inspectors

5. Floor Layers

Worst Construction Jobs in California

This list is determined by selecting the jobs ranked the lowest:

T 1. Welders

T 1. Plumbers

T 3. Construction Laborer

T 3. Carpenter

T 3. Electrician

T 3. Roofers

T 3. Iron & Steel Workers

T 3. Construction Supervisors

T 3. Construction Managers

T 3. Sheet Metal Workers

T 3. Concrete Finishers

T 3. Security and Fire Alarm Installers