Construction workers in California among highest-paid in the nation

 
10/05/2017

Homes under construction in Porter Ranch, CA., Tuesday, September 27, 2016. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)
Homes under construction in Porter Ranch, CA., Tuesday, September 27, 2016. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)


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Construction workers in California are among the highest paid in the nation, according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Fixr.com, an online website that provides cost guides, comparisons and other information for people looking to do remodeling or repair projects, crunched the Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers to create a state-by-state ranking of average hourly wages for workers in the industry.

California ranked 10th highest

California landed 10th on the list of the 10 Highest Wage States, with average hourly earnings of $21.26. Connecticut and Washington ranked just above California with slightly higher pay, and Hawaii and Illinois were tied for the top slot. Construction workers in both of those states earn an average of $27.01 an hour.

Massachusetts, followed with $25.84 an hour and New Jersey ranked fourth with an average hourly wage of $24.05. Construction workers in Arkansas are hurting the most, according to the report, as their average wage is just $12.38 an hour.

The national average wage for construction workers is $18.22 an hour, which equates to $37,897 a year. In California, construction workers earn a average of $44,221 a year.

High cost of living

Mike Balsamo, CEO of the Building Industry Association of Southern California, isn’t surprised that California ranks near the top. But he said wages can be considerably higher for someone with specific skills and more experience.

“It’s common sense that our wages would be on the higher side because our cost of living is higher than most other states in the country,” he said. “There’s also more demand for construction here. Our housing market is one of the strongest in the U.S. for new home construction. We have high demand and a limited supply, so labor is a real resource.”

Nick Angelopoulos, owner of Nicholas Construction & Development Co. Inc. in La Puente, said he’s paying 10 to 20 percent more for subcontractors than he did a few years ago.

“It ranges from $17 an hour for unskilled laborers up to $35 an hour for someone who’s very skilled at a certain trade,” he said. “But we’re dealing with a shortage. A lot of big companies can’t find enough skilled workers.”

A big piece of the economy

The construction industry is a major contributor to the U.S. economy. With more than 650,000 employers with more than 6 million employees, it generates nearly $1 trillion worth of structures each year, according to The Associated General Contractors of America. A study performed for AGC by Professor Stephen Fuller of George Mason University found that an extra $1 billion in nonresidential construction spending adds about $3.4 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product and about $1.1 billion to personal earnings. It also creates or sustains 28,500 jobs.

Balsamo said more money is being funneled into construction projects these days.

“Over the last four years or so, as the economy has rebounded, we’ve seen a 20 percent increase in subcontractor pricing,” he said, referring to the total amount a subcontractor is paid before dispersing that money among its workers. “Overall, I’d say the industry is healthy. The initial part of the recovery after the recession was limited to coastal areas, but now we’ve seen improvements in areas like the Inland Empire, Central Valley and Sacramento.”

SOURCE: http://www.dailybreeze.com/2017/09/23/construction-workers-in-california-among-highest-paid-in-the-nation/



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