The Best Paying Cities for Construction Workers

The construction industry is one of the largest in the United States and, according to the Census Bureau, is currently responsible for more than $1.3 trillion in annual spending. That number is up from a modern low of $788 billion in 2011 following the Great Recession.

Since then, nearly a decade of broad economic growth in the U.S. has increased demand for new homes, commercial buildings, infrastructure, and other projects. As such, employment in the construction industry has grown to match it.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in construction is projected to grow 11 percent between 2016 and 2026, far outpacing the projected national average of 7.4 percent across all occupations. As of 2017, there were almost 6 million construction workers in the U.S., which represent just over 4 percent of the nation’s workforce. By 2026, the BLS projects an additional 747,600 new construction jobs will be created.

On a national level, construction workers are generally well-compensated for their hard work. Last year, the median annual wage for all construction occupations was $44,730—about 19 percent higher than the national median wage across all occupations, which was $37,690. However, pay can vary widely by location. Across the U.S., median annual wages in the construction industry range from a low of $28,000 in parts of Texas and Florida to a high of more than $70,000 in the Chicago metropolitan area.

To determine which cities offer the highest salaries for construction workers, researchers at Construction Coverage, a review website for construction insurance and software, analyzed employment and salary data from the BLS. For an accurate comparison across cities, Construction Coverage calculated “adjusted median salaries” that factor in cost-of-living differences across urban areas.

The research indicates that cities in the Midwest and Northeast offer some of the best adjusted wages for construction workers. On the other hand, cities in Florida and Texas stand out as having some of the lowest wages, even when adjusted for relatively low living costs. Below are the 25 best paying cities for construction workers. For a complete list of results across the most populous 100 metros, visit Construction Coverage.

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The Best Paying Cities for Construction Workers

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25. Dayton, OH

  • Median salary for construction workers (adjusted): $50,700
  • Median salary for construction workers (unadjusted): $45,630
  • Median salary for all occupations (unadjusted): $36,880
  • Number of construction workers: 8,490 (2.3% of total)
New York Buffalo EAB09X

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24. Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY

  • Median salary for construction workers (adjusted): $50,794
  • Median salary for construction workers (unadjusted): $47,950
  • Median salary for all occupations (unadjusted): $36,950
  • Number of construction workers: 19,230 (3.5% of total)

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New York New York M3DGHF

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23. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

  • Median salary for construction workers (adjusted): $50,844
  • Median salary for construction workers (unadjusted): $62,030
  • Median salary for all occupations (unadjusted): $45,900
  • Number of construction workers: 314,140 (3.4% of total)
California Sacramento HH28NW

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22. Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA

  • Median salary for construction workers (adjusted): $51,402
  • Median salary for construction workers (unadjusted): $52,430
  • Median salary for all occupations (unadjusted): $41,910
  • Number of construction workers: 44,570 (4.6% of total)
Rhode Island Providence ERPB9J

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21. Providence-Warwick, RI-MA

  • Median salary for construction workers (adjusted): $51,404
  • Median salary for construction workers (unadjusted): $51,250
  • Median salary for all occupations (unadjusted): $39,540
  • Number of construction workers: 20,050 (3.5% of total)
Washington Seattle DAEA6A

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20. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

  • Median salary for construction workers (adjusted): $51,548
  • Median salary for construction workers (unadjusted): $56,960
  • Median salary for all occupations (unadjusted): $48,890
  • Number of construction workers: 88,530 (4.6% of total)
Massachusetts Worcester H4DREF

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19. Worcester, MA-CT

  • Median salary for construction workers (adjusted): $51,602
  • Median salary for construction workers (unadjusted): $53,460
  • Median salary for all occupations (unadjusted): $41,390
  • Number of construction workers: 8,700 (3.1% of total)
California Stockton S1MY3F

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18. Stockton-Lodi, CA

  • Median salary for construction workers (adjusted): $51,707
  • Median salary for construction workers (unadjusted): $51,500
  • Median salary for all occupations (unadjusted): $35,880
  • Number of construction workers: 9,170 (3.8% of total)

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Washington Spokane JY8534

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17. Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA

  • Median salary for construction workers (adjusted): $51,943
  • Median salary for construction workers (unadjusted): $49,450
  • Median salary for all occupations (unadjusted): $37,500
  • Number of construction workers: 10,090 (4.3% of total)
Oregon Portland B5XDD2

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16. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA

  • Median salary for construction workers (adjusted): $52,035
  • Median salary for construction workers (unadjusted): $52,920
  • Median salary for all occupations (unadjusted): $42,460
  • Number of construction workers: 50,980 (4.4% of total)
Pennsylvania Pittsburgh KCH540

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15. Pittsburgh, PA

  • Median salary for construction workers (adjusted): $52,185
  • Median salary for construction workers (unadjusted): $49,210
  • Median salary for all occupations (unadjusted): $37,700
  • Number of construction workers: 50,140 (4.4% of total)
Massachusetts Boston HT4181

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14. Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH

  • Median salary for construction workers (adjusted): $52,718
  • Median salary for construction workers (unadjusted): $58,570
  • Median salary for all occupations (unadjusted): $50,250
  • Number of construction workers: 92,730 (3.4% of total)

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Wisconsin Madison MPKK08

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13. Madison, WI

  • Median salary for construction workers (adjusted): $53,531
  • Median salary for construction workers (unadjusted): $52,300
  • Median salary for all occupations (unadjusted): $41,670
  • Number of construction workers: 14,010 (3.6% of total)
Missouri Kansas City HXE0NP

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12. Kansas City, MO-KS

  • Median salary for construction workers (adjusted): $53,863
  • Median salary for construction workers (unadjusted): $50,470
  • Median salary for all occupations (unadjusted): $38,410
  • Number of construction workers: 40,560 (3.8% of total)
Hawaii Honolulu GDNYPN

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11. Urban Honolulu, HI

  • Median salary for construction workers (adjusted): $54,252
  • Median salary for construction workers (unadjusted): $67,490
  • Median salary for all occupations (unadjusted): $42,880
  • Number of construction workers: 23,820 (5.2% of total)
Ohio Akron BXR748

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10. Akron, OH

  • Median salary for construction workers (adjusted): $54,489
  • Median salary for construction workers (unadjusted): $49,040
  • Median salary for all occupations (unadjusted): $36,360
  • Number of construction workers: 10,470 (3.2% of total)
Michigan Detroit ENA9Y7

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9. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI

  • Median salary for construction workers (adjusted): $54,838
  • Median salary for construction workers (unadjusted): $52,590
  • Median salary for all occupations (unadjusted): $39,240
  • Number of construction workers: 59,940 (3.0% of total)
Massachusetts Springfield J9C0KK

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8. Springfield, MA-CT

  • Median salary for construction workers (adjusted): $54,877
  • Median salary for construction workers (unadjusted): $53,450
  • Median salary for all occupations (unadjusted): $39,570
  • Number of construction workers: 9,830 (3.0% of total)
Connecticut Hartford ETY5T6

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7. Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT

  • Median salary for construction workers (adjusted): $55,537
  • Median salary for construction workers (unadjusted): $56,370
  • Median salary for all occupations (unadjusted): $48,050
  • Number of construction workers: 17,200 (3.0% of total)
Ohio Toledo J48A7N

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6. Toledo, OH

  • Median salary for construction workers (adjusted): $56,426
  • Median salary for construction workers (unadjusted): $50,050
  • Median salary for all occupations (unadjusted): $35,180
  • Number of construction workers: 11,140 (3.8% of total)
Ohio Cleveland M26YK8

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5. Cleveland-Elyria, OH

  • Median salary for construction workers (adjusted): $57,794
  • Median salary for construction workers (unadjusted): $52,130
  • Median salary for all occupations (unadjusted): $38,330
  • Number of construction workers: 31,430 (3.1% of total)
Wisconsin Milwauee MPKK1M

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4. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI

  • Median salary for construction workers (adjusted): $58,285
  • Median salary for construction workers (unadjusted): $55,720
  • Median salary for all occupations (unadjusted): $38,670
  • Number of construction workers: 26,880 (3.2% of total)
Minnesota Minneapolis F47CET

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3. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI

  • Median salary for construction workers (adjusted): $60,039
  • Median salary for construction workers (unadjusted): $61,420
  • Median salary for all occupations (unadjusted): $44,220
  • Number of construction workers: 62,590 (3.2% of total)
Missouri Saint Louis FHC9ED

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2. St. Louis, MO-IL

  • Median salary for construction workers (adjusted): $65,936
  • Median salary for construction workers (unadjusted): $59,870
  • Median salary for all occupations (unadjusted): $37,910
  • Number of construction workers: 53,980 (4.0% of total)
Illinois Chicago CPW8T2

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1. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI

  • Median salary for construction workers (adjusted): $69,711
  • Median salary for construction workers (unadjusted): $72,360
  • Median salary for all occupations (unadjusted): $39,990
  • Number of construction workers: 132,260 (2.9% of total)

Methodology

Salary and employment statistics are from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) May 2017. This survey was released in 2018 and provides the most current data available as of this writing. The information included in the Occupational Employment Statistics is for wage and salary workers in nonfarm establishments. It does not include data on self-employed workers.

For each metropolitan area, the unadjusted median salary for construction workers is the annual median wage for Construction and Extraction Occupations provided by the BLS. This includes supervisors, laborers, equipment operators, painters, building inspectors, and other miscellaneous construction workers. The unadjusted median salary for all occupations in a given metro is the annual median wage across all occupations for that metro, also provided by the BLS.

To calculate the adjusted median salary for construction workers, the most current metropolitan area regional price parities from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) were used. Adjusted median salaries for each metro were calculated by dividing the unadjusted salaries by the corresponding regional price parities. Only the most populous 100 metros were included in the analysis. The final list is ordered by the adjusted median salaries for construction workers.

 

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