Construction workers are responsible for building a variety of residential and commercial buildings, bridges, highways, tunnels and other important structures. Their job requires both training, usually through an apprenticeship, and physical strength. The amount of money construction workers get paid typically depends on the type and size of the project.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that construction workers were paid an average of $15.96 an hour or $33,190 a year as of May 2009. The median income was $29,150, with construction workers in the 10th percentile earning less than $18,430 a year and those in the 90th percentile earning over $56,270 a year.
Construction workers employed by specialty trade contractors earned an average of $32,550 as of 2009, according to the bureau. Those working in nonresidential building construction earned an average of $35,840, and those working in residential building construction earned an average of $31,540. Foundation, structure and building exterior contractors employed construction workers for an average salary of $32,370 a year, and those working on highway, street and bridge construction earned an average of $37,290.
The bureau names Hawaii as the top-paying state for construction workers with a salary average of $49,400 as of 2009, followed by Alaska at $49,190 and New York at $47,440. The New York City metropolitan area offered the highest salary average in the country for construction workers at $54,270 a year, followed by Boston at $51,920.
Construction workers seeking to advance may pursue certification in a specialty area such as welding or concrete finishing, or they may move up to a managerial or supervisory position. Higher wages are also available in other industries; construction workers in rail transportation earned an average of $47,470 in 2009 according to the bureau, while those in motion picture and video industries earned an average of $63,360.