Compensation costs for nonresidential construction workers are rising

May 17, 2010

In March 2004, residential construction workers earned a mean of $26.61 per hour in total compensation while nonresidential construction workers earned a mean of $30.84 per hour in total compensation, representing 16 percent more than residential construction workers. By March 2009, while total compensation of residential construction workers was virtually unchanged (a mean of $27.18 per hour), nonresidential construction work paid $41.12 per hour, on average, 51 percent more in total compensation than residential construction work.

Total compensation costs per hour worked, residential and nonresidential construction workers, seasonally adjusted, March 2004-March 2009
[Chart data]

As did the gap in total compensation, the wage and salary gap widened between 2004 and 2009. In March 2004, the mean of the wages and salaries paid to nonresidential construction workers was $22.09 per hour, which was not significantly different from residential construction workers' mean wage, $19.59. But by March 2009, nonresidential construction workers' average wages had grown to $28.06 and residential wages averaged $20.23—virtually unchanged from 2004.

The wage differences are mirrored in the benefits component of compensation. Employers' costs for the benefits of residential building construction workers were virtually unchanged between 2004 ($7.02 per hour) and 2009 ($6.94 per hour). During that same period, the nonresidential side of the subsector reported benefit costs of $8.74 in 2004 and $13.06 in 2009.

These data are from the BLS Employment Cost Trends program. Compensation costs (also known as employment costs) include wages, salaries, and employer costs for employee benefits. To learn more, see "Compensation of residential and nonresidential construction workers," (PDF) in the Monthly Labor Review, April 2010 issue.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Compensation costs for nonresidential construction workers are rising on the Internet at (visited September 25, 2016).


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