Construction Laborers: Salary Overview
Construction laborers work on construction sites where they perform many tasks that involve physical labor.
A construction laborer’s job description depends on the place of employment but it typically includes cleaning and preparing construction sites, loading and unloading building materials, building or taking apart scaffolding and temporary construction sites, digging trenches, following construction plans, and assisting craftworkers with their duties.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for construction laborers and helpers was $36,000 which means that half of all workers in this profession earned more than this amount while half earned less.
Salaries vary depending on their role and their job description but also based on experience, industry, and region of employment- among other factors.
The lowest 10 percent reportedly earned less than $24,420 per year while the top 10 percent made more than $64,100 as of May 2019.
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Construction Laborers Salary by Job Description
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction laborers and helpers held approximately 1.6 million jobs in the United States in 2019, most of them working as construction laborers or helpers for electricians, pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters.
The median annual wage reported by construction laborers was $36,860 while helpers for brickmasons, blockmasons, stonemasons, and tile and marble setters earned $35,410 per year, on average.
Carpenter helpers reportedly made $33,060 per year on average while electrician helpers earned $32,830 per year on average.
The median annual wage was $32,110 for roofer helpers, $32,100 for pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters helpers, 31,340 for helpers of painters, paperhangers, plasterers, and stucco masons, and $31,910 for those who offered help in other trades.
Construction Laborer Salary by Industry
According to the BLS, the mean annual wage reported by construction laborers who worked for other specialty trade contractors was $41,480 while those who worked in the field of residential building construction reportedly earned $38,860 per year, on average.
The mean annual wage was $44,670 per year for construction laborers in the nonresidential building construction field and $43,630 for those in the utility system construction sector.
The average annual wage reported by construction workers who were employed by foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors was $40,880.
The report published by BLS shows that the highest paying field for this profession was the industry of electric power generation, transmission, and distribution- a sector where the average annual wage for workers in this occupation was $59,010.
Another field where you may have better chances at earning a higher-than-average salary as a construction laborer is the field of rail transportation, where the average annual wage for this occupation was $57,500.
Salaries for this profession also vary depending on the region and the state of employment.
The top-paying states in 2019 were Illinois, Hawaii, and New Jersey, where the average annual salary was $60,500, $59,160, and $56,750 respectively.
Construction workers in Arkansas, on the other hand, reportedly earned less than $30,000 per year on average.
Other states where construction laborers reportedly made less than $35,000 per year on average are Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, South Dakota, and New Mexico.
Salaries also vary depending on the experience level and laborers who have a few years of experience on the construction site may advance to positions that involve more complex tasks.
Gaining additional certifications in welding, scaffolding, and other specific tasks can also improve your earning prospects as a construction worker.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of construction laborers and helpers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2019 to 2028 but employment growth varies depending on the specific type of helpers.
The demand for helpers of pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters is projected to grow 6 percent while the demand for helpers of masons and marble setters is projected to decline 5 percent.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Construction Laborers. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.