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Report: Construction Wages Up in 2018

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

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According to an analysis conducted by the National Association of Home Builders on the 2018 Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey, workers in construction have shown an increase in median wages year over year, in comparison to national median wages, 3.2% vs 2.5%.

In information collected from the 2018 OES, the national median wage is $38,640, while more than half of payroll construction workers make more than $47,290.

The OES publishes yearly wages for roughly 380 construction-related occupations. However, only 54 of those jobs are actual construction trades; the rest fall under industry workers in finance, sales, administration and other offsite work.

Construction-Related Labor Wage Increases

Starting from the top, chief executive officers are reported to be the highest paid occupation in construction, with half of CEOs making more than $166,710 per year. Airline pilots and flight engineers, making less than CEOs, working in construction, have a reported a median wage of $151,220, while the top 25% in this category earn more than  $200,970 annually.

Ranking third in the highest-paid construction-related occupations are lawyers, who see a median wage of $142,080, with top quartile lawyers making at least $196,770. The rest of the NABH chart reveals that a variety of construction managers make up the last 11 tiers of highest-paid jobs in the industry. NAHB reports that half of architectural/engineering managers (highest ranking manager) make more than $127,770 and half of chemical engineers (lowest ranking manager) make more than $97,570 annually.

Construction Trade Wage Increases

Beginning with the highest paid construction trade wages, NAHB reports that elevator installers have the highest median wages, with half of them earning more than $78,990 a year, and the top 25% making at least $100,720. Following in second are rotary drill operators who make a median wage of roughly $70,000 annually.

Sviatlana Barchan / Getty Images

The OES publishes yearly wages for roughly 380 construction-related occupations. However,  only 54 of those jobs are actual construction trades; the rest fall under industry workers in finance, sales, administration and other offsite work.

Third on the list are first-line supervisors, with half of them making more than $64,600, with boilermakers reported to be a close fourth, making a median of $64,480. However, the median wages of construction and building inspectors are $60,240, with top quartile wages exceeding $80,580. This can be pointed to the fact that often construction trades are required to partake in formal education, specialized training and even licensing, all of which promote higher wages paid.

While carpenters are reported to be one of the most prevalent construction trades in the industry, the trade tends to involve less formal education. As a result, median wages of carpenters exceed the national median. Half of carpenters working in construction earn more than $46,810, and the top 25% earn at least $61,810 per year. Regarding electricians and plumbers in construction, more than half have been reported to earn more than $53,540, with the top quartile making more than $71,300.

Higher Percentages

In reviewing percentage increases alone, NABH reports that construction laborers' and helpers' wages rose even faster in comparing median wages to national median wages, ranging from 6.7% for roofers’ helpers to 3.6% for construction laborers. Plasterers, stucco masons, floor layers and tapers working in construction revealed a 7% increase in median wages.

Additionally, stonemasons saw a 6% rise in wages, while their helpers and terrazzo workers also got wage increases over 5%. According to the report, subcontractor bids have historically increased faster than construction wages and have added inflationary fuel to housing prices.

The findings are reportedly consistent with record-high labor shortages reported by NAHB, causing builders to pay higher wages and subcontractor bids and forcing them to increase home prices.

Overtime Eligibility and Earnings Caps

Earlier this year, in April, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a proposed overtime regulation that would result in more than 1 million workers becoming eligible for overtime pay. This proposal would boost the standard salary level to $679 per week. Above this salary level, eligibility for overtime would vary based on job duties.

The DOL also proposed raising the total annual compensation requirement for highly compensated employees, which are subject to a minimal duties test, from $100,000 to $147,414, according to the National Law Review.

By September, the DOL issued the final ruling on overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act, making the minimum salary threshold for overtime eligibility is approximately $35,568.

Other terms of the proposed rule include:

  • A commitment to periodic review to update the salary threshold. An update would continue to require notice-and-comment rulemaking.
  • Allowing employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) that are paid annually or more frequently to satisfy up to 10% of the standard salary level.
  • No changes in overtime protections for police officers; fire fighters; paramedics; nurses; laborers including non-management production-line employees; and non-management employees in maintenance, construction and similar occupations such as carpenters, electricians, mechanics, plumbers, iron workers, craftsmen, operating engineers, longshoremen and other construction workers.
  • No changes to the job duties test.
  • No automatic adjustments to the salary threshold.

Slightly higher from the initial threshold proposal of $35,308 to $35,568 ($684 per week), the new overtime rule also adjusted the total annual compensation requirement for highly compensated employees, lowering it from $147,414 to $107,432.

The rule goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

   

Tagged categories: Architects; Construction; Contractors; Department of Labor; Designers; Engineers; Finance; Good Technical Practice; Government; Labor; NA; National Association of Home Builders (NAHB); North America; PaintSquare App - Commercial; Workers

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