States with Highest and Fastest Rising Construction Wages

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Despite a housing market slowdown but reflecting persistent long-term labor challenges, wages in construction continue to rise, often outpacing and exceeding typical earnings in other industries.  According to the latest Current Employment Statistics (CES) report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), average hourly earnings (AHE) in construction vary greatly across 43 states that reported these data.

Some of the highest AHE are recorded by states in Northeast and along the Pacific coast. As of February 2023, ten states reported not seasonally adjusted average earnings in excess of $40 per hour, including Massachusetts – $45.9, New Jersey – $45.4, Illinois – $44.6, Alaska – $44.4, Washington – $44.2, New York – $43.6, California – $43, Rhode Island – $42, Oregon – $41.7, and Minnesota – $41.34. At the same time, not seasonally adjusted US average hourly earnings in construction were $35.9.

At the other end of the spectrum are mostly Southern states with their vast majority reporting not seasonally adjusted average hourly earnings in construction under $31. The bottom ten states with the lowest AHE include seven states in the South. The lowest hourly wages are in neighboring Mississippi and Arkansas – $27.5, followed by South Carolina – $29.3, New Mexico – $29.4, West Virginia – $29.8, Kentucky – $30. Maine – $30.2, Oklahoma – $30.2, Idaho – $30.6, and Alabama – $30.7 conclude the bottom ten hourly wages in construction list.

While differences in regional hourly rates might reflect variation in the cost of living across states, the faster growing wages are more likely to point out to specific labor markets that are particularly tight. Year-over-year, all but four states reported rising not seasonally adjusted hourly wages in February 2023. Seven states reported the increase in hourly rates of over 10% – Georgia (12.1%), Texas (11.5%), Idaho (11.4%), Wyoming (11.1%), Oregon (10.5%), Minnesota (10.4%), Alabama (10.3%). Remarkably, the list includes three southern states with AHE below the national average but rising rapidly and outpacing the national average growth of construction wages of 5.7%.

On a monthly basis, the average hourly earnings grew fastest in Kentucky (2.4%), Arkansas (2.4%), and Michigan (2%).



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