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The Top 5 States That Has The Highest Paying Carpenters

The Top 5 States That Has The Highest Paying Carpenters

The Top 5 States That Has The Highest Paying Carpenters


Carpentry jobs are very important. They help build homes which keeps the cost of housing down. Do carpenters receive fair compensation for their hard work? Which states pay carpenters the most? According to my research, the top five states that pay the most are: Hawaii, Illinois, New York, Alaska, and New Jersey. If you're a carpenter looking for a well-paid position, consider trying your luck in these states.

How much do carpenters typically ear? We'll take a detailed look at the states that offer the best compensation. If you're interested in learning more, keep reading!


How much do carpenters make?

Most of the time, the first impression towards trade worker jobs is that they aren't a well-paid profession for one to venture into. While we can't deny the merits of this statement, you can actually be a carpenter and earn enough income to enjoy the lifestyle you want, though it takes a sheer amount of determination and practice. In fact, here's what I have discovered so far. 

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2020, the median annual wage for carpenters was $49,520, which means that half of all carpenters earned more than that amount, and half earned less.

The lowest 10 percent of carpenters earned less than $32,230, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $84,690. Carpenters who work in the construction industry tend to earn more than those who work in other industries. 

In a nutshell, I think this means that if you're new to carpenter jobs, then it's a given not to expect to receive anything much because you have yet to solidify your skillset and experience in the field. In fact, most carpenters venture into this line of work starting as apprentices, earning only half of what qualified carpenters generally earn. But it doesn't just stop there, don't worry; the wages do increase by 5% every half a year, reaching at least 85% of the earnings of a qualified carpenter by their fourth year. 

Compared to non-union workers, union ones typically earn more. Plus, they get to enjoy additional benefits as well like paid holidays, pension plans, as well as healthcare plans. 

Are carpenters really underpaid?

When I was browsing through the web to answer this nagging question in my mind, I kept seeing shared sentiments about construction wages and how they tend to get paid less than what they deserve. So I kept digging for a bunch of information to determine the truth about carpenter jobs and the nature of the work itself. 

Like what I mentioned earlier, a handyman or carpenter's hourly wages largely depend on the type of carpentry work they perform, their experience, as well as if they either belong to a union and are contractors or employees at the same time. Having certifications, licenses, or specializations are also a major factor in considering the appropriate compensation for their work. 

As of April 2020, the pay for carpenters per hour in the U.S. was $23.81, which is equivalent to

$49, 500 for every year. This is just a national average that doesn't factor in the specifics mentioned in the previous paragraph. 

Also, carpenters can either work directly for clients like local businesses or homeowners as a contractor, while others work for companies or general contractors as an employee. When you work independently as a handyman, you have the freedom to set your own rate and can opt to charge by project instead of by the hour. This helps both the client and carpenter to have a general overview of the effort and compensation required for the job, 

Here's what you should know: the contrast between being an employee and a contractor as a trade worker is that employees typically earn an established annual salary or hourly wage. When it comes to payroll taxes, they only pay half while also being covered by compensation insurance alongside other benefits.

In such situations, most carpenters and handymen settle and agree to offer their services for a lower hourly rate than they typically can charge due to the promise of additional benefits and regular, long-term work. 

On the other hand, those who work independently as subcontractors tend to charge higher since they have to pay 100 percent of payroll taxes. Add to that the fact that they don't qualify for state unemployment insurance and have no added benefits as well. What's unfortunate is that the three-year slumber caused by the pandemic had taken a massive toll on subcontractors, which is why the federal government decided to provide unemployment benefits to contractors who lost their jobs due to the deadly virus - thanks to that! 

It's like this: carpentry is an umbrella term for a whole other slew of jobs that a handyman does on a daily basis. Apart from that, most of those who work in the field are general laborers, not unionized and without specializations as well. With this, it's not surprising that many people in this field of work attest that the average wage is lower than usual.


What's the current situation for construction workers now?

Oh, you might like what I've discovered about this so far. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, the wages for trade workers now outpace the average wages in private sectors. Now, that's a great thing to hear, right? 

Generally, you can now expect a fatter paycheck should you decide to pursue carpenter jobs, especially since the average hourly earnings have increased about 3.2% over the years, totaling up to a median of $30.73. This figure was approximately 10.1% higher than the average income in the private sector, which is $27.90. In fact, the Manpower Group North America also discovered a significant increase in the number of companies that have been transferring workers to permanent contracts, particularly in construction, food service, as well as financial services. 

I've discovered that this sudden pay bump largely accounts for the evident supply and demand - there simply aren't enough workers to begin with. Just last year, the number of construction job openings totaled up to 360,00, which was the highest record that the Department of Labor had tracked over 19 years. In 2026, the industry would be needing an estimated 747 000 workers, most of which were hard to find. This is because builder confidence has significantly declined from May to June last year. 

More than that, workers in the field are graying fast, with the average age of carpenters being 42.5 years old. More and more people are retiring, with not enough trade workers to sustain the industry itself. 

Hopefully, this evident increase in hourly wages will encourage more people to pursue carpenter jobs and that they may be treated and compensated accordingly from this point on!


Five States With the Highest Paying Carpenters

Though there are already steps being taken to ensure that carpenters are valued for their labor and hard work, it might still be a good idea to consider the state you're in if you want to pursue this line of work. Of course, you wouldn't want to settle in a place that doesn't value your work in the first place. 

Well, you don't have to fret about it now. There are plenty of states that pay handymen what they're due, and if you're lucky enough, you might secure a stable position in any of these places! 

If you're someone with an affinity for carpentry or just looking to pursue a stable profession as a trade worker in the industry, consider these five states that have the highest paying carpenters as of 2022: 

State Average Salary Per Year Lowest 10% Average Earnings Highest 10% Average Earnings
Alaska $56,898 $46,000 $69,000
Connecticut $54,836 $39,000 $76,000
Washington $55,986 $40,000 $77,000
New Jersey $61,678 $43,000 $86,000
Vermont $45,034 $32,000 $61,000



Carpenter jobs are a noble profession that is valuable in our society. Without them, we wouldn't be enjoying the luxury of staying in well-built homes, shelters, and establishments, just like what we are doing right now. I hope that through this article, you're able to get a glimpse of what carpentry jobs are like, as well as the nature of the work and the compensation tied to it at the same time. If you can, make sure to try and take your chances at the five top-paying states for carpenters for a well-paying position!

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The Top 5 States That Has The Highest Paying Carpenters
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