Construction laborers perform many tasks that require physical labor on construction sites.
Construction laborers, also referred to as construction craft laborers, perform a wide variety of construction-related activities during all phases of construction. Many laborers spend their time preparing and cleaning up construction sites, using tools such as shovels and brooms. Other workers, such as those on road crews, may specialize and learn to control traffic patterns and operate pavement breakers, jackhammers, earth tampers, or surveying equipment.
With special training, laborers may help transport and use explosives or run hydraulic boring machines to dig out tunnels. They may learn to use lasers to place pipes and to use computers to control robotic pipe cutters. They may become certified to remove asbestos, lead, or chemicals.
Construction Laborer Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for construction laborers was $36,000 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,420, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $64,100.
Median annual wages for construction laborers and helpers in May 2019 were as follows:
- Construction laborers $36,860
- Helpers–masons and tile and marble setters $35,410
- Helpers–carpenters $33,060
- Helpers, construction trades, all other $31,910
Construction Laborer Job Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of construction laborers and helpers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.
Education and Training
Construction laborers and helpers learn their trade through on-the-job training (OJT). The length of training depends on the employer and the specialization.
Although formal education is not typically required for most positions, helpers of electricians and helpers of pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters typically need a high school diploma. High school classes in mathematics, blueprint reading, welding, and other vocational subjects can be helpful.