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    California Has 12th Fastest-Growing Construction Wages In U.S.

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    Mike LaFirenza

    The construction industry took a huge hit in 2020 due to pandemic-induced shutdowns and work stoppages. While construction is now booming in many cities across the country due to pent-up demand for new homes and low interest rates, construction employment has still not returned to pre-pandemic levels. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), average wages for construction workers increased by 3.8% from 2015 to 2020, after adjusting for inflation, and increased demand for construction workers will likely push wages higher over the next year.

    This is good news for those in the construction industry, many of whom experienced below-average wage growth in recent years. Across all occupations, inflation-adjusted wages grew by 6.7% between 2015 and 2020. While construction wages grew more slowly, at less than 4%, the construction industry varies substantially across the country. In some cities, construction wage growth over the last five years was greater than, or on par with, that of the fastest-growing occupational groups, such as personal care (+16.4%) and farming, fishing, and forestry (+15.7%).

    At the state level, construction workers in Washington and Georgia had the fastest-growing wages from 2015 to 2020, increasing by 10% and 9.1%, respectively, after adjusting for inflation. Compared to the national population growth rate of 2.7% from 2015 to 2020, both Washington and Georgia grew at faster rates (by 7.3% and 5.2%, respectively). Conversely, construction workers in Indiana and Alaska (Indiana reported below-average population growth and Alaska’s population declined) saw their construction worker wages decline by 2.7% and 5.7%, respectively.

    To find the states with the fastest-growing wages for construction workers, researchers at Construction Coverage analyzed the latest data from the BLS. The researchers ranked states according to the inflation-adjusted change in mean construction worker earnings from 2015 to 2020. Researchers also calculated the actual change in mean earnings from 2015 to 2020, mean annual earnings for 2020 and 2015, and the concentration of construction workers compared to the national average.

    The analysis found that after adjusting for inflation, construction wages in California increased by 6.1% between 2015 and 2020, compared to a 3.8% growth at the national level. Out of all U.S. states, California has the 12th fastest-growing construction wages. Here is a summary of the data for California:

    • Inflation-adjusted change in mean earnings (2015–2020): 6.1%
    • Actual change in mean earnings (2015–2020): 15.9%
    • Mean annual earnings (2020): $64,020
    • Mean annual earnings (2015): $55,240
    • Concentration of construction workers (compared to average): -4%

    For reference, here are the statistics for the entire United States:

    • Inflation-adjusted change in mean earnings (2015–2020): 3.8%
    • Actual change in mean earnings (2015–2020): 13.4%
    • Mean annual earnings (2020): $53,940
    • Mean annual earnings (2015): $47,580
    • Concentration of construction workers (compared to average): N/A

    For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Construction Coverage’s website:

    Mike LaFirenza writes for Lattice News Wire

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