The Prevailing Wage in Construction Jobs

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Construction jobs can pay good salaries for those skilled in the industry.
Construction jobs can pay good salaries for those skilled in the industry. (Image: Rainer Elstermann/Lifesize/Getty Images)

If you enjoy working outdoors and learning new skills, the career field of a construction worker could be a good job choice. With more than 7 million wage and salary jobs, construction is one of the largest unstustries in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). These workers can sometimes top $70,000 a year in earnings for those who are willing to work their way to the top, according to PayScale.com.

General Wages

Salaries in the construction industry may vary widely depending on several factors including experience, job and location. According to the BLS, the lowest U.S. wages are $8.67 an hour or $18,033 per year if working full-time, although many earn much more. For construction workers in non-residential construction, the average rate of pay is at least $14.95 per hour or $31,096 each year. If you work in residential building, you can expect to earn at least $13.79 an hour, or $28,683 annually.

Job Titles

The compensation you receive in the construction industry will depend in large part on your title and responsibilities. Those at the top of the command, construction managers, are reporting the highest incomes at $71,980 a year, according to PayScale.com. Project managers are earning only slightly less at $69,807 a year. Working in the construction industry as a project engineer could net an annual income of $55,025 and assistant project managers are reporting earnings of $50,145 a year. Construction laborers earn a median annual salary of $44,190 according to the BLS, with the lowest 10 percent earning $18,430 or less per year, and the highest 10 percent making $56,270 per year.

By City

The area of the U.S. where you live and work can play a big part in how much you can expect to earn working in the construction business. Those working in New York city are reporting median salaries of $71,497 annually, according to 2011 findings by PayScale.com. Working in Chicago could pay slightly less, with those workers reporting earning $64,063 each year. Construction workers in the city of Atlanta are reporting median earnings of $60,343 a year.

By State

Annual compensation for workers in the construction industry can also differ from one state to another, according to a recent survey by PayScale.com. Construction workers in California are reporting median salaries of $72,482 a year. Their counterparts in Colorado are reporting earning less at $63,467 a year. Using your skills as a construction worker in the state of Texas could net an annual median salary of $62,009 each year.

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