If you are interested in working as a construction worker in the USA, you might be wondering how much you can earn, how to become one, what are the latest news and trends in the industry, and what are the benefits and facilities that you can enjoy. In this article, we will answer all these questions and provide you with full details information for 2023.
Construction Worker Salary
According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for construction workers in the USA was $40,350 in May 2020, which translates to $3,362 per month or $19.40 per hour. However, this figure can vary significantly depending on the state, the type of construction work, the level of experience, and the demand for labor.
The BLS also provides data on the average annual wages for construction workers by state for May 2020. Here are the top 10 highest-paying states for construction workers:
- Hawaii: $72,030
- Illinois: $66,940
- Alaska: $66,430
- New York: $66,120
- Massachusetts: $65,520
- New Jersey: $64,000
- California: $61,400
- Washington: $60,840
- Minnesota: $60,090
- Connecticut: $59,860
On the other hand, here are the bottom 10 lowest-paying states for construction workers:
- Arkansas: $31,450
- Mississippi: $31,960
- South Dakota: $32,410
- West Virginia: $33,190
- Alabama: $33,560
- Louisiana: $34,020
- Oklahoma: $34,230
- Kentucky: $34,320
- Tennessee: $34,330
- North Carolina: $34,340
As you can see, there is a huge gap between the highest and lowest-paying states for construction workers. The difference can be explained by several factors, such as the cost of living, the availability of skilled workers, the level of competition, and the type and size of construction projects.
How Much Does a Construction Worker Make Per Month?
How to Become a Construction Worker?
To become a construction worker in the USA, there are several steps you can take to start your career in the construction industry. Here is a general outline of the process:
- Obtain a high school diploma or GED. A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required to work as a construction worker. If you haven’t completed high school, consider earning a General Education Development (GED) certificate.
- Gain construction skills and knowledge. While formal education is not always mandatory, acquiring relevant skills and knowledge is important. Consider taking vocational courses or enrolling in trade schools that offer construction-related programs. These can provide training in areas such as carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, or general construction practices.
- Seek apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeships provide hands-on training and learning opportunities. Look for apprenticeship programs offered by construction companies, trade unions, or industry associations. These programs combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction and can last from a few months to several years. Apprenticeships are a great way to gain practical skills and establish connections in the industry.
- Obtain certifications and licenses. Some construction trades require specific certifications or licenses to work legally. For example, electricians and plumbers often need to obtain state-issued licenses. Research the requirements for your desired trade and obtain the necessary certifications or licenses.
- Gain work experience. Building a strong work history and gaining practical experience are essential for career advancement in the construction industry. Look for entry-level positions or opportunities to work as a laborer or assistant on construction sites. This will allow you to learn from experienced professionals and gain hands-on experience in the field.
- Build a network. Networking is crucial in the construction industry. Attend industry events, join trade organizations, and connect with professionals in your desired field. Building a network can lead to job opportunities, mentorship, and valuable industry connections.
Benefits and Facilities for Construction Workers
- America desperately needs 1 million more construction workers. According to Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), the construction industry will need to hire 430,000 workers this year and 1 million more over the next two years in order to keep up with the demand for labor. The shortage of skilled workers is caused by several factors, such as the retirement of older workers, lack of interest from younger generations, immigration restrictions, and pandemic-related disruptions. The labor shortage is also driving up wages and prices for construction services.
- Construction worker shortage to reach critical levels in Australia. National Skills Week’s Chairman, Brian Wexham, has labeled a serious shortage of skilled construction workers as the cause of slower delivery times and an increase in cost for home builds and major infrastructure projects, with a predicted 100,000 unfilled roles by 2023. The shortage is attributed to the lack of investment in vocational education and training, the impact of COVID-19 on international students and workers, and the increased demand for construction projects.
- As US labor demand cools, construction is still hot. The nationwide demand for labor is dulling, but construction still faces a shortage of workers. Construction counted 363,000 job openings at the end of July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a decrease of 23,000 jobs from June. That’s still 10,000 more unfilled positions compared to the same period a year ago, or about a 3% increase. The high number of vacancies reflects the difficulty of finding and retaining qualified workers in the industry.
- The construction industry needs ‘staggering’ 2.2M more workers. More workers are returning to the industry as construction companies offer higher wages and sign-on bonuses to attract more staff. Around 7.45 million Americans worked in the industry in September per preliminary BLS data, up from 7.26 million in September of last year. However, this is still not enough to meet the demand for labor, which is expected to grow by 2.2 million by 2026, according to ABC. The industry needs to invest more in training and recruiting new workers, especially from underrepresented groups such as women and minorities.
Construction workers are entitled to various benefits and facilities provided by their employers or by the law. These include:
- Welfare facilities. Welfare facilities are basic necessities for workers that include toilets, washing facilities, changing rooms, eating and rest areas. The type and number of facilities depend on the size and type of work. The employer should consider the availability, location, and maintenance of welfare facilities at the planning and preparation phases of the project. Sufficient and well-maintained facilities can have a positive impact on the health and well-being of workers. They can also help prevent occupational diseases such as hepatitis A, cholera, and dermatitis.
- Health and safety protection. Health and safety protection is a legal right for workers that aims to prevent accidents and injuries on construction sites. The employer is responsible for providing a safe and healthy work environment for workers by identifying and eliminating hazards, providing personal protective equipment (PPE), training workers on safety procedures, reporting and investigating incidents, and complying with relevant regulations and standards. Workers also have a duty to cooperate with their employer on health and safety matters, follow instructions and rules, use PPE properly, report any problems or concerns, and avoid putting themselves or others at risk.
- Tax-advantaged accounts. Tax-advantaged accounts are financial tools that help workers save for retirement, healthcare expenses, or education expenses. They are called tax-advantaged accounts because they offer tax deferrals or exemptions on the money contributed into the accounts. Some examples of tax-advantaged accounts are 401(k) plans, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), health savings accounts (HSAs), flexible spending accounts (FSAs), and 529 plans.
- Insurance benefits. Insurance benefits are forms of compensation that provide coverage for workers in case of unexpected events or losses. Some examples of insurance benefits are health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, accident insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance. Insurance benefits can help workers pay for medical bills, replace lost income, protect their family members, or receive compensation for work-related injuries or illnesses.
- Paid time off. Paid time off is a form of benefit that allows workers to take time off from work for various reasons without losing their pay. Some examples of paid time off are vacation days, sick days, personal days, holidays, bereavement leave, jury duty leave, and parental leave. Paid time off can help workers balance their work and personal life, recover from illness or injury, or deal with family or personal matters.
Construction work is a rewarding career that offers many opportunities for growth and development. However, it also requires hard work, skill, and dedication. If you want to become a construction worker in the USA, you need to know how much you can earn, how to get trained and certified, what are the current trends and challenges in the industry, and what are the benefits and facilities that you can enjoy. We hope that this article has provided you with full details information for 2023 and has answered all your questions about working as a construction worker.
Most Asked Questions and Answers
Here are the 10 most asked questions and answers about construction workers:
Q: What are the duties of a construction worker?
A: A construction worker is a general term for someone who works on construction sites. The duties of a construction worker may vary depending on the type and stage of the project, but they typically include:
- Preparing and cleaning the site
- Loading and unloading materials and equipment
- Operating and maintaining tools and machines
- Measuring and cutting materials
- Mixing and applying concrete, mortar, or asphalt
- Laying bricks, tiles, pipes, or wires
- Erecting and dismantling scaffolding, ladders, or barriers
- Assisting other tradesmen such as carpenters, electricians, or plumbers
- Following safety rules and regulations
Q: What are the skills and qualities of a good construction worker?
A: A good construction worker should have the following skills and qualities:
- Physical strength and stamina: Construction work is physically demanding and requires lifting, carrying, bending, climbing, and working in different weather conditions.
- Manual dexterity and coordination: Construction work involves using various tools and machines that require precision and accuracy.
- Math and problem-solving skills: Construction work involves measuring, calculating, estimating, and following plans and blueprints.
- Communication and teamwork skills: Construction work involves working with other workers, supervisors, clients, and inspectors. A good construction worker should be able to communicate clearly, listen attentively, and cooperate effectively.
- Attention to detail and quality: Construction work requires following specifications and standards to ensure safety and quality of the final product.
- Adaptability and flexibility: Construction work is dynamic and unpredictable. A good construction worker should be able to adjust to changing situations, tasks, and deadlines.
Q: What are the risks and challenges of working as a construction worker?
A: Working as a construction worker can be rewarding, but it also comes with some risks and challenges. Some of them are:
- Injury and illness: Construction work is one of the most hazardous occupations in the USA. According to the BLS, there were 1,061 fatal work injuries in the construction industry in 2019, accounting for 20% of all fatal work injuries in the private sector. The leading causes of death were falls, struck by object, electrocution, and caught in/between. Construction workers are also exposed to various health hazards such as dust, noise, vibration, chemicals, heat, cold, or radiation.
- Stress and fatigue: Construction work can be stressful and exhausting due to long hours, tight deadlines, heavy workload, high expectations, or difficult clients. Stress and fatigue can affect the mental and physical health of workers as well as their performance and safety.
- Job insecurity and instability: Construction work is often seasonal, cyclical, or project-based. This means that workers may face periods of unemployment, underemployment, or reduced income during downturns, slow seasons, or between projects. Workers may also have to relocate or travel frequently to find work.
Q: How can construction workers improve their skills and career prospects?
A: Construction workers can improve their skills and career prospects by:
- Pursuing further education or training: Construction workers can enhance their knowledge and skills by taking courses or programs related to their trade or field. They can also obtain certifications or licenses that demonstrate their competence or specialization. Further education or training can help workers advance to higher-level positions, increase their income, or diversify their career options.
- Seeking mentorship or guidance: Construction workers can benefit from seeking mentorship or guidance from experienced professionals in their industry. They can learn from their mentors’ expertise, advice, and feedback. They can also expand their network, access opportunities, and gain recognition through their mentors’ referrals or recommendations.
- Keeping up with industry trends and innovations: Construction workers can stay updated on the latest developments, challenges, and opportunities in their industry by reading publications, attending events, joining organizations, or following influencers. Keeping up with industry trends and innovations can help workers adapt to changing demands, improve their efficiency, or discover new ways of doing things.
Q: How can construction workers protect their health and safety?
A: Construction workers can protect their health and safety by:
- Following safety rules and regulations: Construction workers should comply with the safety rules and regulations set by their employer, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and other relevant authorities. They should also report any unsafe conditions or incidents to their supervisor or employer.
- Using personal protective equipment (PPE): Construction workers should wear appropriate PPE such as helmets, gloves, boots, goggles, earplugs, masks, or vests when working on construction sites. PPE can help prevent or reduce injuries or illnesses caused by falls, impacts, electricity, noise, dust, or chemicals.
- Taking breaks and resting: Construction workers should take regular breaks and rest periods during their workday. They should also avoid working overtime or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Taking breaks and resting can help prevent or relieve stress, fatigue, or dehydration.
Q: What are the best resources for finding construction jobs?
A: Some of the best resources for finding construction jobs are:
- Online job boards: Online job boards are websites that list job openings from various employers or sources. Some examples of online job boards for construction jobs are Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder, ZipRecruiter, or Glassdoor. Online job boards allow workers to search for jobs by location, salary, experience, or keywords. They also provide tools such as resume builders, alerts, or reviews.
- Construction associations or unions: Construction associations or unions are organizations that represent the interests of construction workers or employers. Some examples of construction associations or unions are ABC, Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), or International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Construction associations or unions offer services such as training, apprenticeships, networking, or advocacy. They also post job opportunities or referrals for their members.
- Personal contacts or referrals: Personal contacts or referrals are people who know or work in the construction industry. They can be friends, family, coworkers, supervisors, clients, or mentors. Personal contacts or referrals can provide information, advice, or recommendations for finding construction jobs. They can also introduce workers to potential employers or partners.
Q: What are the best practices for applying for construction jobs?
A: Some of the best practices for applying for construction jobs are:
- Researching the employer and the job: Before applying for a construction job, workers should research the employer and the job thoroughly. They should learn about the employer’s history, mission, values, culture, projects, and reputation. They should also understand the job’s requirements, responsibilities, expectations, and benefits. Researching the employer and the job can help workers tailor their application, prepare for the interview, and show their interest and fit.
- Creating a professional resume and cover letter: A resume and a cover letter are documents that showcase the worker’s skills, qualifications, and achievements. A resume should be concise, clear, and relevant to the job. A cover letter should be customized, persuasive, and specific to the employer. A professional resume and cover letter can help workers stand out from other applicants and highlight their value proposition.
- Following up and following through: After applying for a construction job, workers should follow up and follow through with the employer. They should send a thank-you note after the interview, restate their interest and enthusiasm, and address any questions or concerns. They should also keep in touch with the employer until they receive a decision, update them on any changes in their status, and respond promptly to any requests or offers. Following up and following through can help workers demonstrate their professionalism, persistence, and commitment.
Q: What are the best tips for succeeding in construction jobs?
A: Some of the best tips for succeeding in construction jobs are:
- Showing up on time and ready to work: Showing up on time and ready to work is a basic expectation for any job, but especially for construction jobs. Being punctual and prepared shows respect for the employer, the coworkers, and the clients. It also helps workers avoid missing deadlines, causing delays, or creating problems.
- Being proactive and resourceful: Being proactive and resourceful means taking initiative and finding solutions. Workers should not wait for instructions or directions, but rather anticipate needs and act accordingly. They should also not rely on others or give up easily but rather use their skills and knowledge to overcome challenges. Being proactive and resourceful can help workers improve their performance, efficiency, and creativity.
- Seeking feedback and improvement: Seeking feedback and improvement means asking for and accepting constructive criticism and suggestions. Workers should not be afraid or defensive of feedback but rather see it as an opportunity to learn and grow. They should also not be complacent or satisfied with their current level of skill or knowledge but rather seek new ways to improve themselves. Seeking feedback and improvement can help workers enhance their quality, competence, and confidence.
Q: What are some common myths or misconceptions about construction workers?
A: Some common myths or misconceptions about construction workers are:
- Construction work is unskilled labor: This myth implies that construction work does not require any skill or training, but only physical strength or endurance. This is false because construction work involves various trades that require specialized skills and knowledge such as carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, or welding. Construction workers also need to have math, problem-solving, communication, and teamwork skills to perform their tasks effectively.
- Construction work is only for men: This myth implies that construction work is not suitable or attractive for women