Production Workers: Salary Overview
Production workers are employees who are involved in making and assembling products.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for all production workers in the United States was $36,000 as of May 2019 which is inferior to the $39,810 median wage for all occupations in the U.S.
The median annual wage shows us that half of all workers in this occupation earned less than this amount while half earned more.
BLS projects that employment for production workers will decline by 5 percent from 2018 to 2028 which means that almost 430,000 jobs will be lost in this sector.
Depending on the industry of employment, the term “production worker” may refer to a variety of professions, including assemblers or fabricators, bakers, butchers, machinists, or woodworkers.
Job descriptions, responsibilities, and salaries in this field vary depending on the industry of employment and the job title.
Production Worker Salary by Occupation
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay in 2019 for assemblers and fabricators was $33,710, lower than the median wage for all production workers.
The median annual wage for bakers was $27,700 while butchers reportedly earned $32,500 on average per year.
Lower-than average salaries were also reported by food and tobacco processing workers and woodworkers, professions with median annual wages of $30,200, and $32,690 respectively.
Slightly better-remunerated were professionals such as dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians and medical appliance technicians, jewelers, and precious stone and metal workers, machinists and tool and die makers, metal and plastic machine workers, painting and coating workers, water and wastewater treatment plants workers and system operators, welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers.
For the above professions, median wages were generally between $36,990 and $47,760.
The best-paid production work professions were power plant operators, distributors, and dispatchers and stationary engineers and boiler operators.
Power plant operators, distributors, and dispatches reported an average annual wage of $85,950 while stationary engineers and boiler operators reportedly earned $62,150 per year as of 2019.
The average annual wage for other production workers (who were not included in the above list) was $29,880.
In conclusion, because the term “production worker” refers to a variety of occupations with different job descriptions and educational requirements, salaries for workers in this field vary widely.
Moreover, for each of the above occupations salaries vary depending on the worker’s level of experience, skills, additional certifications, and industry of employment.
For example, the lowest 10 percent of all bakers made less than $20,310 which is about half the median for all occupations in the United States, while the top 10 percent made more than $41,640 per year.
Food and tobacco processing worker’s salaries vary between less than $21,660 and more than $47,500 per year while salaries for quality control inspectors range between less than $24,660 and more than $66,260.
Salaries for power plant operators, distributors, and dispatchers typically range between $50,000 and $120,000.
Salaries for production workers (all other) usually range between $20,000 and $53,000 but entry-level employees can earn less than the minimum for this range while the top employees can make more than the upper limit.
Wages for these professionals also vary depending on the region of employment.
For example, the District of Columbia, which is the top-paying state for production workers (all other) offered a mean annual wage for this occupation equal to $83,320 while the second-highest average wage was reported in Alaska where production workers (all other) reportedly earned $58,350 per year, on average.
Production workers (all other) in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, on the other hand, earned on average less than $30,000 per year.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Production Workers. 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.