How Much Construction Workers Are Paid in Each State

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Dmitry Kalinovsky /

Ever since the U.S. emerged from the Great Recession, construction has been on the rise — and in some urban areas, it is booming.

An increase in residential and commercial projects — combined with an aging population of construction workers — has resulted in about 200,000 open construction jobs throughout the country, according to a recent article on the National Association of Home Builders’ Eye on Housing website.

That’s a concern for many employers scrambling to fill existing vacancies and complete projects, according to the NAHB. For job seekers, it’s an opportunity.

There is an array of specialty jobs in construction – from laborers to workers who specialize in brickwork, framing, drywall and more. In this post, to provide a snapshot of the market in different parts of the country, we’ve ranked the states by the mean hourly wage for construction laborers, from lowest to highest, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. A ranking of pay for specialized trade workers may line up a bit differently (and you can look up many of them on the bureau’s website for more details) but this offers a big picture.

We’ve also collected news about housing, commercial construction and state economies to provide a look at which states might offer the best job prospects for construction workers.

Find out where your state ranks and where you might have better prospects:

50. Arkansas

Monkey Business Images /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $12.38

Arkansas had the most year-over-year construction job gains of Western and Southeastern states, according to a report at The data — compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and National Association of Home Builders — show construction jobs in Arkansas increased 13.6 percent. The state in that region with the second-highest rate, Idaho, saw 10 percent growth in construction jobs, reported.

Rural housing and business construction demands are credited with a significant portion of the job growth in Arkansas, according to U.S. News & World Report.

49. North Carolina

Syda Productions /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $13.50

The chief economist for Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America said that the lack of construction workers has stalled building in North Carolina, according to North Carolina Construction News.

The state’s construction employment is expected to grow moderately at 3 percent, but worker shortages are prompting employers to search for new recruitment methods, said AGC economist Ken Simonson.

“We will need an arsenal of ways to deal with the workforce shortage,” Simonson told North Carolina Construction News.

48. Alabama

Construction workers
Monkey Business Images /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $13.74

Alabama ranks near the bottom of the ladder for construction worker wages, but the pressure is on to increase those workers’ pay.

Demand for construction workers in Alabama is growing, and there aren’t enough workers to fill available positions, according to the website Go Build Alabama. The average age of an Alabama-based construction worker is 47. In addition, for every one person entering the workforce as a trade worker in Alabama, three or four are retiring.

One thing that might help meet the demand is the Alabama Workforce Training Center in Birmingham, which matches contractors with educators to boost training for construction workers and others, reported RA-LIN and Associates, a construction services provider.

47. Mississippi

Cheryl Casey /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $13.92

Mississippi is still recovering from the recession, but new home sales are an indicator that the state’s economy is gaining ground, reported the Sun Herald in Gulfport. The demand for new homes has grown so much that at least one major realtor has established a new home division.

The main challenge to new home sales in Mississippi is the difficulty lenders are having approving young first-time buyers who carry heavier debt than previous generations of buyers, according to the Sun Herald.

Regulations established after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 mean that new homes are generally more expensive than existing homes, but the demand is still high, the Herald said.

46. Florida

Travelview /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $14.00

The housing market in Florida is expected to grow over the next few years, but a bust may be coming, experts told the Orlando Sentinel.

“I think the fiscal policies and reduction in regulation will accelerate growth; I think also those same policies will cause debt to grow and deficit spending to increase,” economist Hank Fishkind told the Sentinel. “By 2019, I think there’s a high probability of a recession.”

45. South Dakota

Dmitry Kalinovsky /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $14.02

In recent years, South Dakota has become one of the hottest economies in the U.S., reported the Capital Journal in Pierre.

The boom is attributed to record growth in agriculture, health care, retail and construction, the Journal reported. In fact, a report by the Associated General Contractors of America said the state added 1,000 construction jobs in March 2017, more than any other state except Alaska or Delaware, according to U.S. News & World Report.

As the economy swells, look for a rise in wages, too.

44. Oklahoma

Blazej Lyjak /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $14.19

The Oklahoman reported that experts forecast construction jobs would fuel employment growth in the state in 2017.

That forecast remains even though residential construction spending projections in the state were revised downward from 13.8 percent to 13 percent in June, according to state government reports. Residential housing may have slipped a bit, but commercial construction, specifically for hotels, has increased, reported the Tulsa World, citing a study that put the state fourth nationally in the percentage of hotel room inventory under construction.

43. Tennessee

Construction workers
Syda Productions /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $14.25

A low inventory of homes, a growing population and an influx of new businesses has boosted job prospects for construction workers in the state, reported The Tennessean.

“A lot of new building (is) going on in Tennessee,” William Fox, director of University of Tennessee Knoxville’s Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research, told the newspaper. “There is a lot around Nashville, but every part of the state is seeing sound increases in construction. Leisure and hospitality is growing very fast.”

Skilled construction workers are in short supply and employers are actively recruiting, reported The Tennessean.

42. New Mexico

Woman working on a roof in construction
Monkey Business Images /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $14.30

Construction is booming in New Mexico with 3,200 new jobs added between May 2016 and May 2017, reported the Santa Fe New Mexican.

That’s a 7.4 percent gain — making construction one of the fastest growing industries in the state, the newspaper reported.

41. South Carolina

Dmitry Kalinovsky /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $14.31

A healthy construction industry helped fuel South Carolina’s post-recession growth, and it hasn’t stopped yet.

“South Carolina’s economy is growing at a healthy pace,” said University of South Carolina economist Joseph Von Nessen. “And we expect the state to continue to build on this momentum in 2017.”

Construction led the state’s economic growth thanks to a surge in demand for housing since 2015. Von Nessen and his colleagues expect the growth to continue at least through this year.

40. Virginia

Boonchoke /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $14.31

A reported 59 percent of Virginia contractors can’t fill open jobs, according to the website Watch for increased base pay, bonuses and benefits offered to retain construction workers, the site said.

“Contractors remain quite concerned about labor shortages, tight margins and growing costs,” economist Ken Simonson told the site. “In particular, as additional older workers reach retirement age, firms will struggle to find qualified workers to replace them.”

39. Idaho

B Brown /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $14.41

The construction boom in Idaho has made it a job-seeker’s market for construction workers, reported the Idaho Business Review. In fact, the boom ranks the state the second-highest in construction job growth in the U.S., just after Oregon, the Review reported.

The state added 4,500 construction jobs from January 2016 to January 2017, bringing the total to 44,200. That’s an 11.3 increase, reported the newspaper. Construction jobs in Idaho haven’t been that high since August 2008.

“If you could add 3,000 or 4,000 construction jobs, we could handle it real easy,” Kelly Perryman, owner of Perryman Construction Management in Nampa, told the Review. “My framer had 150 people in 2007. Now he has 55 to 60 and he can’t find any more. He could double his size and keep them busy if he could find them.”

The labor shortage has prevented construction companies from taking on more work, Perryman said.

38. Nebraska

Viacheslav Nikolaenko /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $14.50

Expect plentiful construction jobs in Nebraska through 2018, according to a long-term forecast from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Bureau of Business Research.

Public media service NET reported construction employment in the state is projected to hit a record level this year and continue to grow to more than 55,000 people working in construction in 2018, which would be a 9.5 percent increase from 2007.

As demand grows, paychecks should keep pace, the experts added.

37. Texas

Lyu Hu /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $14.62

The economy in Texas remains strong, but it’s no longer booming, reported the Dallas Morning News. Lower energy prices have resulted in a housing glut and a slowed employment rate, the newspaper said.

Yet the need for qualified construction workers continues to grow, with the Dallas Builders Association reporting some 10,000 to 20,000 jobs unfilled, according to

Dallas Builders Association President Michael Turner, who runs Classic Urban Homes, told NBCDFW that the shortage of workers means it now can take eight or nine months to finish a home they used to finish in six months.

“What we’re strapped with is during the recession we lost about 50 percent of the labor force and they just really haven’t come back,” he told the NBC affiliate. “So we are trying to do more work with half as much workforce as what we had previously.”

36. Utah

Kurhan /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $14.80

Utah has a tremendous amount of building underway, but can’t find enough qualified workers to fill the jobs.

“In Utah we have about $5.2 billion worth of commercial building projects right now. And historically, boy, if we see $2 billion, $2.5 billion in available work, that’s a pretty robust economy,” Rob Moore of Big-D Construction told Utah Business. “This is just adding projects up that we are all working on and it does include the airport and the prison. So the good side is we are seeing some pretty darn nice work.”

Paul Campbell of Wheeler Machinery told Utah Business there would be even more building if they could find more workers: “… from a construction standpoint, everybody has backlog. Things are great. We have had people tell us that they would purchase equipment if they could find operators.”

35. Maine

CoolKengzz /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $14.93

Maine lost 34 percent of its construction workers by the end of 2015. Now that demand for construction projects has taken a rapid upturn, employers are feeling the labor crunch, noted the Portland Press Herald.

Although demand is high, specifically in southern Maine, construction workers in the state are the lowest paid in the Northwest region.

Employers are also reluctant to hire full-time construction workers for fear of another downturn, said Matt Tonello of Consigli Construction Co., speaking to the Herald.

34. Louisiana

RIRF Stock /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $15.07

Louisiana construction is booming with more than $103 billion in industrial projects slated to begin or underway, reported LSU Online. That has kept the state’s economic growth above the national average and driven up the number of jobs in many sectors.

LSU projects a 16 percent growth in employment by 2022. Those who hold master’s degrees in construction management have especially healthy job prospects. reported that the state has a 5.7 percent unemployment rate, the third-highest in the country. The construction boom should help lower that rate.

“[Looking at] construction as a whole we expect to see increases, now with the Restore Louisiana Fund flowing we expect to see an uptick in the home sector,” Louisiana Workforce Commission executive director Ava Dejoie told

33. Georgia

Igor_Astakhovi /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $15.69

Watch for the Georgia housing market and other construction employers to pick up the pace of hiring this year.

A recent report found that 86 percent of the state’s privately held construction companies expect a revenue increase over 2016, reported certified public accounting and consulting firm Bennett Thrasher LLP. The results are from a survey analyzed by Kennesaw State University’s Construction Management Department in cooperation with Bennett Thrasher.

That report mirrors an analysis by the Atlanta Business Chronicle that found the state has all but recovered from the Great Recession. State economist Kenneth Heaghney told the newspaper that the state’s economy grew by 2.3 percent to 2.4 percent between November 2015 and November 2016. The U.S. economy grew by 1.7 percent during the same period, he reported.

32. Arizona

Starmaro /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $15.84

The construction industry in Arizona has been slow to rebound from the recession, and experts predict “lower-than-normal job growth there,” reported Fox Business.

“Probably 80 percent of the difference in this recovery … has been due to the lack of construction,” economist Elliott Pollack told Fox Business. “We gained about 8 percent of the construction jobs we lost [during the recession] — normally by this time we’d have gotten back about half the construction jobs we lost. So if you’re looking for a reason for the mediocre growth in Arizona, it is solely at the feet of construction, or lack thereof.”

31. Vermont

Zurijeta /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $15.94

Slow job growth is the norm in Vermont except for four sectors of the economy, one of which is construction, reported the Burlington Free Press.

And job prospects for construction workers will continue to grow as the state economy recovers from the recession, which by 2010 resulted in a loss of 3,800 construction jobs, reported the newspaper.

There has been improvement, but there are still 1,500 fewer construction jobs than there were at the pre-recession peak in 2006. An aging population signals less construction demand, so experts don’t expect to see much growth in construction jobs, according to the Free Press.

30. Maryland

Dmitry Kalinovsky /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $15.96

Maryland has some of the healthiest housing markets in the U.S., reported The Daily Record. The Maryland Construction Industry Outlook report prepared by Gross Mendelsohn found that construction firms were optimistic about the industry’s future.

The majority of survey respondents (68 percent) expected increased revenues, according to the report reviewed by The Daily Record. More than half of respondents (54 percent) noted their top concerns included finding and retaining good employees.

29. Kentucky

Kurhan /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $15.97

Construction workers are in demand in Kentucky thanks to a housing boom that set records in both 2015 and 2016, reported Kentucky Forward. During the past five years (60 months) home sales have increased every month except for seven, the online newspaper reported.

“We are at a time where, in most areas, well priced homes are moving fast due to low inventories. It has become a low supply versus high demand issue and buyers who want to get in the market have to move quickly to secure a home,” Mike Becker, 2017 president of the Kentucky Association of Realtors said. “Boosting home construction should give buyers more options and help sellers feel more comfortable putting their homes on the market.”

The demand has created a backlog of construction projects throughout the state, experts told the Lane Report.

28. Kansas

Construction worker
Piyapong Wongkam /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $16.29

Employment in Kansas declined between 2015 and 2016, but it is expected to rebound somewhat this year, reported the Center for Economic Development and Business Research at Wichita State University. The strongest growth is expected to be in natural resources and construction, which should bring more jobs.

Fueling the increase are projects including apartment construction in the Kansas City area at rates not seen since the recession, reported The overall housing market remains weak, however, reported the Kansas City Business Journal.

27. Wyoming

24Novembers /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $16.45

A boom in wind power — a part of Wyoming’s important energy industry — is expected to bolster that state’s construction industry, according to a report in The Greenwich Time.

“Wyoming has a lot of strengths, and our natural resources obviously is at the top of that list,” Randy Bruns, CEO of Cheyenne LEADS, an economic development organization, told the Casper Star Tribune. “But population, or the lack thereof, definitely presents some real challenges to us in diversifying the economy.”

26. West Virginia

Ivan Smuk /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $16.47

West Virginia was the worst state for business in 2017, reported CNBC. It was one of only seven states that saw their economies shrink in 2016 — which for West Virginia was in large part due to a decline in its mining industry, CNBC said.

Advocates of a massive $2.8 billion state road construction and maintenance proposal say the investment would create 48,000 jobs, though critics say the impact on the economy would be more modest.

There may be more answers for West Virginia in October, when voters go to the polls to vote on bonds that would fund additional construction.

25. Colorado

Dmitry Kalinovsky /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $16.52

Those seeking construction jobs will find plenty of choices in Colorado, thanks to growth in single-family home building and end-of-year bond approvals that will fund various municipal projects, reported The Denver Post.

The newspaper, reporting on the 2017 Colorado Business Economic Outlook from the University of Colorado Boulder, said 9,000 new construction jobs are expected, a 5.7 percent increase.

“The growth will be across every sector except natural resources and mining and again will support the strongest period of employment growth that we’ve had since the 1990s,” Richard Wobbekind, an economist with the university’s Leeds School of Business, told the Post.

24. Delaware

Niyazz /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $16.57

Construction in Delaware has leveled off into a normal pattern after a turbulent boom-and-bust period, reported Delaware Online.

“From an overall housing market perspective, much faster growth (in new construction) would put Delaware – I don’t want to say in danger of overbuilding, but it looks to me that continuing at this pace would not be a bad thing,” Kurt Rankin, an economist at PNC Financial Services Group, told Delaware Online. “New construction is back to where we would expect it to be.”

23. New Hampshire

Northlight /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $17.16

Construction laborers are in demand in New Hampshire, according to a state report — and that demand is expected to grow 8.4 percent from the base year 2014 through 2024.

New Hampshire, like many other states, suffers from a drought of skilled construction laborers, wrote Craig Jewett, owner and president of New Hampshire-based Jewett Construction.

“We have had to be creative with recruitment and hope to encourage more young people to invest their time and energy into the building trades,” he wrote. “The construction industry offers great opportunities for career stability and development for hard-working, dedicated individuals.”

22. Iowa

Construction worker
Nenov Brothers Images /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $17.23

A shortage of construction workers and an overall building boom has resulted in a rich job market for those workers in Iowa.

Chad Kleppe, president and CEO of the Master Builders of Iowa trade organization, told Radio Iowa that the demand will grow during the next five years.

“Contractors are, by nature, very creative in how they’re going to meet workforce needs,” Kleppe told Radio Iowa. “Obviously, they’re trying to do more with less right now, but in some respects, they’re changing the way they may construct.”

He said builders are also recruiting students, sometimes as young as middle school, to enter the industry.

“You can come out of high school and earn while you learn,” he told Radio Iowa. “After five years in the industry, you’re making north of $50- to 55,000 with zero college debt.”

21. Montana

Jim Parkin /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $18.06

Slow economic growth in Montana hasn’t stalled demand for housing, reported the Great Falls Tribune.

In fact, home prices in the state are now 10 percent higher than in the run-up to the recession.

A shortage of workers in the state’s construction industry has stalled growth in the new home market, the Great Falls Tribune reported.

20. Oregon

Hands working with wood
Stasique /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $18.13

State legislators report that Oregon’s economy is going “full throttle,” according to a report in The Oregonian.

“It’s all good news from an economic perspective,” Josh Lehner, an economist with the Office of Economic Analysis, told state lawmakers. “The economy is doing really well in Oregon today.”

The unprecedented growth is not sustainable, said Lehner, but will be healthy when it levels off.

One concern economists noted in The Oregonian story was a shortage of affordable housing and a lack of growth in the overall housing supply in 2016, which could bode well for the construction jobs outlook.

19. Michigan

Andreas G. Karelias /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $18.31

After a devastating plunge during the recession, the housing market in Michigan is one of the hottest in the U.S., reported USA Today on the state’s real estate forecast. Dan Elsea of Real Estate One attributed part of the rebound to millennials who are buying their first homes and Gen X’ers who are ready to sell and move into something bigger.

Home values in the state increased 5 to 6 percent in 2016.

In addition, the employment rate in Michigan has risen substantially in recent years thanks to the resurgence of several industries including construction, according to the Detroit Free Press.

18. Indiana

Bogdanhoda /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $18.57

Indiana’s construction boom is centered in the middle of the state, according to the Indianapolis Star. Industry insiders said the trend is due to low interest rates, flexible spending and pent-up demand.

“The industry is stable but not overly crazy,” Scott Mairn, division president of Pulte Homes, told the Star. “I don’t think we’ll see 13,000 permits annually again, at least in the short term, but we’ll continue to see healthy, moderate growth.”

17. Pennsylvania

Urbans /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $18.61

The state’s construction industry is expected to make gains this year, but it won’t amount to a boom, according to Electrical Contractor, an industry publication.

As EC describes this steady progress, it’s more of a “gets you where you need to go” family vehicle than a high-performance race car:

A recovery now seven years and counting has moved incrementally, allowing some construction sectors to fully recover and others to move near post-recession levels. Some sectors will remain nearer to those post-recession levels than others in this new year.

16. Nevada

Viacheslav Nikolaenko /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $18.90

Construction bottomed out in Nevada during the recession, but it’s rebounded in a big way, according to the Nevada Business Journal, which said the industry is the Silver State’s fastest-growing sector.

The Journal noted that construction employment was up 13 percent in October 2016 over the previous year.

15. North Dakota

Sean Locke Photography /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $19.10

Like many other states, North Dakota has seen an increase in construction needs but struggles with a lack of qualified workers, reported the Grand Forks Herald.

A report by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) found that the number of construction jobs in the state increased by 3.4 percent (equal to 1,100 new jobs) between May 2016 and May 2017, a figure that would have been higher if more workers had been available, according to the Herald.

14. Ohio

Dmitry Kalinovsky /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $19.20

Ohio firms need qualified contractors to work on water and sewer projects, highways and multiple residential and commercial construction projects, reported the Dayton Daily News. Surveys found that 57 percent of firms in the state expect higher-dollar projects in 2017 than last year in all areas of construction, the report said.

“Seventy-three percent of firms report they are having a hard time finding qualified workers, ” Associated General Contractors of America economist Ken Simonson told the newspaper, citing national data. “And 76 percent of respondents predict that labor conditions will remain tight or get even worse in the next 12 months.”

13. Wisconsin

Digital Reflections /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $19.93

One of Wisconsin’s largest state contractors told Construction Dive, an industry newsletter, that the state has reached “a new level of stability.”

“If you look at the construction industry in general in the state, it’s very busy,” said Jim Rossmeissl, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Appleton-based Boldt. “Contractors are busy trying to digest the work that they have, so maybe the bar is now higher, but we’ve reached a new level of stability,” he said. “As we look ahead, we’re projecting more of the same in terms of stability. I don’t think we’re foreseeing any tremendous downturns, and I don’t see any tremendous peaks ahead of us compared to where we are now. It’s a pretty constant level of busy activity at this point.”

He said labor shortages and uncertain health care issues could dent the robust industry.

12. Rhode Island

Dmitry Kalinovsky /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $20.45

Watch for construction demand in Rhode Island to grow tremendously — by 14.1 percent by 2024, from base year 2014 — according to a Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training report.

That projection would translate into some 2,887 new jobs in the construction and extraction industry.

11. Missouri

ESB Professional /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $20.51

This past spring the inventory of available homes in St. Louis hit the lowest level in years, reported the St. Louis Post Dispatch, which called the housing market “red-hot.” Although inventory levels vary by region, almost all areas are seller’s markets.

Still there are outliers. The St. Louis area may be booming, but nearby Kansas City will likely have one of the weakest housing markets in the U.S., according to data from reported by the Kansas City Business Journal.

That doesn’t mean stagnation, though. Kansas City housing will likely enjoy 2.66 percent sales growth, which is above the national average.

10. California

Steve Bruckmann /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $21.26

California has recovered the majority of jobs lost during the Great Recession, according to first tuesday Journal, a California real estate publication. In fact, experts say the state will have one of the highest growth states for construction jobs in the U.S. — about 11.6 percent — reported Tradesmen International.

Those who want to take advantage of this boom should act fast, because the up market won’t last forever, reported experts at the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

“One can say that the panels are still optimistic, but clearly that is abating,” Jerry Nickelsburg, adjunct professor of economics and a senior economist with the UCLA Anderson Forecast, said in a report.

9. Connecticut

Zoran Oric /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $21.47

Connecticut has had one of the slower economic recoveries in the U.S., but apartment construction has helped nudge growth in construction jobs. In addition, U.S. Census date showed an increase in permits for single family homes, apartments and condominiums, reported the Hartford Courant.

Still the number is well off the 9,000 or more that would indicate a healthy market, Donald L. Klepper-Smith, an economist at DataCore Partners in New Haven, told the Courant. He expects the market to recover in three to five years.

“The health of the housing market is tied to the health of the local labor market,” Klepper-Smith told the Courant. “When you are creating jobs in a mild fashion, that translates into mild housing growth.”

8. Washington

Andreas G. Karelias /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $22.00

The state of Washington, recently named the nation’s top state for business, saw 3.7 percent growth in its economy in 2016. That was nearly 2.5 times the national rate, reported CNBC.

The state recently added 9,900 construction jobs reported the Puget Sound Business Journal, citing data from the Associated General Contractors of America. That’s a 5.9 percent increase, the Journal noted, adding that there were recently 100 active construction projects just in downtown Seattle.

7. Minnesota

Radovan1 /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $22.88

A new study named two Minneapolis home markets among the hottest in the nation, Twin Cities Business reported. The Zillow Inc. report named the Folwell and McKinley neighborhoods as hot, even though the areas are in the economically challenged north Minneapolis area, as buyers priced out of other areas look for more affordable homes.

The area’s recovery has priced some young homebuyers out of the market, but it has created opportunities for construction workers.

6. New York

Belushi /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $23.11

Real Estate Weekly reported that construction employment in New York City rose for the fifth consecutive year in 2016, surpassing 140,000 to reach the highest level in four decades.

Oldcastle Business Intelligence projected a 7 percent increase in construction starts statewide this year, after a rate of negative 8 percent in 2016.

5. Alaska

Adam Kenneth Campbell /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $23.88

Getting a construction job here could be more challenging than in other states. Employment in construction on oil and gas pipeline-related projects in Alaska is expected to decline 39 percent by 2024, and the construction industry overall will grow by just 1.7 percent in that period, reported Alaska Dispatch News.

Of course, that could change, according to Paul Martz, an economist with Alaska’s Labor Department.

“We always have to deal with a lot of uncertainty in Alaska, but this is even more,” Martz told the Alaska Dispatch News. “The oil price is a significant component for the uncertainty, especially because a lot of losses are tied to that, either directly or indirectly.”

4. New Jersey

Monkey Business Images /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $24.05

Construction in New Jersey is expected to level out this year, according to analyst Patrick O’Keefe of CohnResnick in Roseland, speaking to news station WKXW (New Jersey 101.5).

“The approvals are becoming more difficult to achieve, and therefore the pipeline and the momentum in the pipeline will slow as 2017 proceeds,” O’Keefe said of one of the state’s major projects. “2017 will be an OK year. It will not be a banner year.”

Sales of existing homes and record growth in construction between 2008 and 2010 are among the reasons for the leveling off, he said.

3. Massachusetts

Construction plans and meeting
Piyapong Wongkam /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $25.84

Demand for housing is high in Massachusetts, but zoning and other restrictions have stifled new home building and other construction, reported The Boston Globe.

Massachusetts pays some of the highest construction wages in the region, reported the Portland (Maine) Press Herald, in an article citing a skilled labor shortage in that state due to its lower pay rates.

The Boston Globe reported that continued housing demand means Massachusetts may see shortages of workers in construction and other sectors.

2. Hawaii

cleanfotos /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $27.01

The booming construction industry in Hawaii will slow, but the wave of projects should continue well into 2018, reported Pacific Business News.

“There are a lot of big projects going on right now, including rail and the Maui airport rental car facility,” Frank Wirt, senior vice president for King & Neel, told PBN. “Contractors today have bigger backlogs.”

A massive wave of new condominium towers in Honolulu are among the construction projects that are keeping that industry strong, PBN reported.

1. Illinois

Steve Hamann /

Mean wage for construction laborers: $27.01

Illinois has a boom in construction with more tower cranes in operation than any other city in the U.S. except Seattle, reported Construction Dive. New office and residential space is needed in the area due to the number of companies relocating to the state, the online industry newsletter noted.

Mark Yanik, vice president of strategic business development for Leopardo Construction, told Construction Dive he expects the high level of demand to last two to three more years. To build the base of construction workers, Yanik’s company is actively recruiting on college campuses and reconfiguring its business model to offer more benefits, flexible hours and other perks.

What are the job prospects in your area? Would you consider moving to another state for a high-paying construction job? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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