How Much Do Construction Workers Make?

Construction work is known for being good money. But how much can you expect to get paid as a construction worker, and what kind of work pays the most?

How Much Do Construction Workers Make a Year?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Services (BLS), $37,520 is the average annual salary for construction and helpers as of May 2021.

That's above average for U.S. occupations.

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How Much Do Construction Workers Make an Hour?

Of course, construction workers don't make a fixed salary like office workers – they get paid by the hour. What's the average? When you break down the BLS's industry-wide figure from above, it comes to $23.37 an hour. 

That's not the most helpful number for someone researching a career, though. Construction is a huge industry with work at different levels of skill and specialization. You have a lot of room for growth in the construction industry, and your potential salary will grow with you.

We'll talk about how your role affects salary in a bit.

How Many Hours a Week Do Construction Workers Clock?

On average, construction workers put in just below a 40-hour week. Many construction workers put in five 8-hour days, but that isn't universal.

The number of hours will vary somewhat by "season," project schedule, and the local supply and demand for your specialized role. Some construction workers work a part-time schedule, while others can take as many hours as they can manage.

The good news: construction jobs generally honor overtime pay, so you'll get a premium if you work more than 40 hours.

What Affects How Much Construction Workers Get Paid?

As we said before, the biggest factor in a construction worker's salary is the type of work they do.

"Skilled" trades generally pay the most, but some pay better than others. This includes plumbers, ironworkers, and electricians.

"Construction laborers" have a more general role than tradespeople. "Unskilled" laborers get paid the least and have responsibilities like loading and unloading supplies or equipment, cleaning and preparing work areas, and moving materials. Over time, laborers pick up skills like mixing materials, putting up scaffolding, framing, pouring pavement, drywall installation, and operating light and heavy equipment. Then there are the most complex "laborer" specialties, like demolition and blasting.

Beyond your role, pay as a construction worker is also affected by the same things as other professions: where you live, how long you've been in the industry, your level of skill and expertise, how many hours you work, and whether you belong to a union.

How Much Do Different Types of Construction Workers Get Paid?

The BLS reports that the 2020 national averages are as follows.

Occupation

Avg Hourly

Avg Yearly

Construction Laborers & Helpers

$17.83

$37,520

Painters (Construction & Maintenance)

$20.25

$42,130

Flooring Installers & Tile/Stone Setters

$20.77

$43,210

Roofers

$20.95

$43,580

Insulation Workers

$22.03

$45,820

Glaziers (ie, window & glass installers)

$22.15

$46,080

Solar Photovoltaic (ie, solar panel) Installers

$22.34

$46,470

Masonry Workers

$22.94

$47,710

Carpenters

$23.81

$49,520

Construction Equipment Operators

$23.61

$49,100

Drywall Installers, Ceiling Tile Installers, & Finishers

$23.47

$48,830

Sheet Metal Workers

$24.70

$51,370

Ironworkers

$25.58

$53,210

Plumbers, Pipefitters & Steamfitters

$27.08

$56,330

Electricians

$27.36

$56,900

Material Moving Machine Operators (in Construction)

$28.13

$58,500

First-Line Supervisors

$32.61

$67,840

Elevator Installers & Repairers

$42.57

$88,540

Construction Managers

$46.72

$97,180

Keep in mind that these are the averages across all levels of experience. Starting pay in each role will be less.

How Much Do Construction Workers Make Across the Country?

Everything we've discussed so far is a national average (specifically, the median salary). But as we said earlier, a construction worker's salary also depends on the state or even the city you work in.

It's hard to come by an industry average for each state, so we'll compare using a construction laborer's mean salary. Nationally, the mean wage is $20.67/hour, which is $43,000/year.

How Much Do Construction Workers Make in NYC and New York State?

According to the BLS, the average construction worker's salary in New York City is $29.45/hour, which is $61,250. Specifically, this is the data for the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area.

For New York State, the average salary is $27.64/hour (or $57,480/year).

How Much Is a Construction Worker's Salary in Texas?

The average construction worker's salary in Texas is $16.82/hour (or $34,980/year), according to the BLS.

In some cities, it's higher. It's $17.92/hour in the Houston-Woodlands-Sugar Land metropolitan area and $17.39/hour in the Dallas-Ft Worth-Arlington metropolitan area.

It's lower in other areas – the average is $15.85/hour in the Austin-Round Rock metropolitan area and just $13.74 in El Paso.

How Much Does a Construction Worker Make in California?

The average construction worker's salary in California is $24.63/hour (or $51,240/year), according to the BLS.

In the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim metropolitan area, it's actually lower - $23.18/hour. In the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward metropolitan area, it's $28.43/hour, which works out to $59,140.

How Much Does a Construction Worker Make in Florida?

According to the BLS, the average construction worker's salary in Florida is $16.37/hour (or $34,040/year).

The Miami-Ft Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metropolitan area is roughly the same as the statewide average.

But How Much Can Construction Work Cost You?

Construction work pays well, but it's important to remember that it can be dangerous and hard on the body. Around 1,000 construction workers die on the job every year, and the frequency of injuries that require treatment, days away from work, or restricted work is significantly higher than all other industries combined.

If you don't learn how to protect yourself, you can end up with a costly injury and missed earnings. That's why some jurisdictions require OSHA certification for construction workers, so you can learn how to protect yourself on the job.

As an OSHA-authorized online training provider, we offer OSHA 10 Construction, OSHA 30 Construction, New York City's mandatory SST training, and more. You can complete your safety training requirements wherever it's comfortable and convenient to you. Get started today!

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