Report: Grand Rapids construction wages higher than national average

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With demand for services on the rise, local construction companies are shelling out more money to hire and retain workers.

A report from Construction Coverage found construction laborers in the Grand Rapids-Kentwood metro area make a cost-of-living adjusted median hourly wage of $19.07 per hour, compared to a nationwide average of $18.22 per hour, with certain positions projected to be among the fastest-growing in the industry.

In Michigan, the Lansing-East Lansing metro area is ranked the No. 5 best-paying mid-sized metropolitan area in the nation, with wages averaging $24.27/hour.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth rate for construction laborers — those who perform physical labor at construction sites — is estimated to grow by 8% between now and 2030. By contrast, overall construction industry jobs, such as skilled labor or managerial positions, are estimated to grow at a rate of 5.7%.

According to the report, the COVID-19 labor market continues to face challenges finding and retaining workers despite increasing wages and abundance of job opportunities, with the labor force down by more than 3 million in the U.S. compared to pre-pandemic levels. According to one industry analysis, the construction industry is no exception, with 70% of construction employers reporting difficulty filling craft labor positions though also offering increased and better wages than many other professions despite educational requirements, creating workforce development partnerships and changing hiring practices.

With increased consumer demand, especially in the residential market, the construction industry faces its highest need for craft construction workers in years, according to the report. Though these challenges did not begin with the pandemic, employment shortages could continue to affect the construction industry in the years to come, the report said.

The full report and a detailed methodology can be found here.

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