How Much Should a Carpenter Be Paid?

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After you get trained as a carpenter, you can earn a living working on residential and non-residential buildings.
After you get trained as a carpenter, you can earn a living working on residential and non-residential buildings. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

As a home or business owner, there may be instances when you need the services of a carpenter. For example, if you’re renovating a portion of your home or business, you might need to negotiate hourly rates before you hire a carpenter to help build a deck on the back of property. To arrive at a final payment for carpenters, consider factors such location, amounted of time required to finish the job and the carpenter’s work experience.

National Wages

There were about 620,410 carpenters working in the United States as of May 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Mean hourly wages carpenters earned was $21.10; mean annual salaries were $43,890. The majority of carpenters earned between $30,710 and $53,880 a year, or $14.76 to $25.90 an hour. However, the bottom and top 10 percent earned a median annual wage of $24,650 and $71,660 respectively. Hourly wages for the bottom and top 10 percent was $11.85 and $34.45 respectively.

Salaries by Industry

Top-paying industries for carpenters were electric and power generation, motion picture and video industries and petroleum and coal products manufacturing. These top employers paid carpenters $62,730, $61,400 and $60,530 a year respectively. Carpenters working for employers operating in these three leading industries took home hourly wages of $30.16, $29.52 and $29.10 an hour. Rounding out the top highest-paying industries were specialty hospitals and scientific research and development services. Getting hired to complete jobs in these two industries saw carpenters taking home annual wages of $57,120 and $56,020 respectively; hourly wages were $27.46 and $26.93, respectively.

Regional Salaries

California was one of the highest-paying states for carpenters, paying the professionals $54,600 a year and $26.25 an hour. Additionally, California was a state that hired the largest numbers of carpenters, employing 63,610 of the workers. New York was the next highest-paying state at $53,340 a year and $25.64 an hour. By working in Pennsylvania, Texas and Florida, carpenters earned $42,810, $32,430 and $35,660 a year respectively. Hourly wages carpenters working in Pennsylvania, Texas and Florida earned were $20.58, $15.59 and $17.15 respectively.

Job Outlook

From 2008 through 2018, carpenters can expect to see jobs in their career field grow by approximately 13 percent. This pace is on average for expected job growth for other occupations. Carpenters who know how to work with electricity, with energy efficient materials and use a variety of techniques can increase their chances of getting hired by employers or to conduct contractor jobs as self-employed workers.

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