Construction work employs over a million people in the United States, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting over 1,020,350 people working as construction laborers. Additionally, the average salary for construction workers nationwide is $41,730. The outlook for this industry is bright, with the BLS estimating that job growth will be approximately 11% for construction workers from 2018-2028, which is above average among U.S. job growth.
AdvisorSmith examined 383 U.S. cities to find the best 50 cities for construction workers. Our study was based upon variables such as the average salary for construction workers in each city, the density of construction jobs available in the city, and the cost of living for each city. This study was based on general construction laborers who perform manual labor on construction job sites, so this study excludes other craft or trade workers who may work on construction sites such as carpenters or electricians. This study also found the top ten small, midsize, and large cities in the country for construction workers. Continue reading to find the best cities in the U.S. for construction workers.
Top Cities for Construction Workers by City Size
Our study examined the best cities for construction workers based upon the size of each city. Cities with populations below 150,000 were classified as small cities, populations between 150,000 and 500,000 were classified as midsize cities, and large cities had populations above 500,000. The chart below shows the top ten cities for construction workers based on each city’s size.
The top cities for construction workers tended to be small and midsize cities located all around the country. These cities generally paid above-average construction wages and also featured modest costs of living and dense concentrations of construction jobs.
Best Cities for Construction Workers
1. Springfield, IL
The capital of the state of Illinois, Springfield was home to Abraham Lincoln for almost 25 years. Much of the city’s economy is tied to the state government, with the state being the largest employer in the city. Additionally, medical facilities account for substantial employment in the city, and some of the major construction projects in the city include work at the Memorial Medical Center, St. John’s Hospital, and Springfield Clinic.
Springfield had 740 construction jobs, which was 1% above the national average for a city of Springfield’s size. Construction workers in Springfield earned an average salary of $52,520, which was 26% above the national average, while benefiting from a cost of living 12% below the national average, making Springfield the #1 city for construction workers.
2. Farmington, NM
A small city in the northwest corner of the state of New Mexico, Farmington is a commercial hub for this region of the state. Primary industries in Farmington are based on resource extraction and include petroleum, natural gas, and coal. Farmington is also conducting major construction on the revitalization of its downtown.
Farmington had 1,570 jobs for construction workers, which was 375% more jobs per capita than the national average. Although the average construction wage in Farmington was $34,770, which was below the national average, the city’s cost of living was also 7% below the national average.
3. Wheeling, WV
Situated on the Ohio River and bordering Ohio is the small city of Wheeling, WV. Wheeling was once the state capital of West Virginia, and it was later was an important transportation and manufacturing center due to its strategic location on the Ohio River and the B&O Railroad. A current major construction project in Wheeling is the rehabilitation of 26 bridges along Interstate 70.
The city of Wheeling was host to 690 construction worker jobs, and those workers earned an average salary of $45,040, which was 8% above the national average wage. Additionally, there were 54% more jobs for construction workers in Wheeling on a per capita basis than the national average, and the city’s cost of living was 15% less than average.
4. Binghamton, NY
Binghamton is a midsize city in the Southern Tier region of New York State near the Pennsylvania border. The city was once an important manufacturing center, and IBM was founded near the city, but the city’s manufacturing base declined following defense cuts after the end of the Cold War. Some of the major construction projects in the city include the city’s sewage plant modernization and the Canal Plaza Grocery Store.
Binghamton’s construction workers earned an average wage of $50,830, which was 22% above the national average. The city also had 26% more construction jobs on a per capita basis compared with the national average, for a total of 880 construction jobs. Those workers enjoyed a cost of living which was 6% below the national average.
5. Huntington, WV
Huntington is a midsize city in West Virginia along the Ohio River on the border of Ohio. The city has the country’s second-busiest inland port and is an important center for transferring goods between freight trains and river transportation. In Huntington, some of the city’s old office buildings are being converted into condos for residential use.
In Huntington, the city’s 1,700 construction workers earned an average wage of $42,920, which was slightly above the national average, while benefiting from a cost of living that was 15% below the national average. Huntington also had 88% more construction jobs on a per-capita basis compared with the national average.
Top 50 Cities for Construction Workers
Below, we list the top 50 cities for construction workers in the United States. Additionally, we include the absolute number of construction jobs in the city, the average salary for construction workers, the location quotient, and the cost of living in the city.
|Rank||City||City Size||Average Annual Salary||Total Jobs||Location Quotient||Cost of Living|
|6||Mount Vernon, WA||Small||$56,480||550||1.59||111|
|11||Michigan City, IN||Small||$42,960||420||1.51||89|
|13||Fond du Lac, WI||Small||$44,780||320||1.02||89|
|17||Jefferson City, MO||Midsize||$42,500||630||1.22||87|
|24||Cedar Rapids, IA||Midsize||$41,800||1,110||1.12||89|
|33||The Villages, FL||Small||$33,290||730||3.6||102|
|36||Twin Falls, ID||Small||$28,150||1,210||3.74||90|
|38||Grand Forks, ND||Small||$39,930||470||1.38||93|
|39||Baton Rouge, LA||Large||$35,480||6,100||2.22||92|
|45||Corpus Christi, TX||Midsize||$33,880||3,230||2.46||94|
This study considered three major factors for determining the best cities for construction workers, including the average salaries for construction workers in each city, the location quotient for construction jobs, and the cost of living in each city. Our study examined 383 metro areas in the United States, which we term cities.
Data for this study was sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent data release from May 2019, and the study reflects metropolitan statistical data for salaries, jobs, and population data.
1. Cost of Living in Each City
Our study took into account the cost of living for each city, using the AdvisorSmith City Cost of Living Index. This index adjusts cities, considered at the metropolitan statistical area level, for the cost of housing, transportation, groceries, and other factors that influence the quality of life that can be purchased by a construction worker in a given city. Cities with higher costs of living scored lower in the study.
2. Construction Worker Average Salaries
We examined the average salary earned by construction workers in each of the cities using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The higher the average salary, the higher that city scored in this study.
3. Location Quotient for Construction Jobs
The location quotient measures the concentration of jobs for construction workers in a given city compared with the national average. The higher the location quotient, the more construction jobs are concentrated in a city as a percentage of the population. The location quotient is an indicator of the availability of construction jobs for a given city’s residents. Cities with higher location quotients scored more highly in our study.
1. AdvisorSmith Cost of Living Index
2. U.S. Census Bureau, Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas Population Totals
3. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook
4. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics