What is the average salary a carpenter earns?

Written by alyssa owens
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What is the average salary a carpenter earns?
There were 1,284,900 carpenters in the United States as of May 2008. (carpenter, image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com)

Carpenters work in the construction industry, where they build and repair structures and objects made from wood. They generally work from blueprints to measure and construct things like building frameworks, rafters, staircases and wooden windowsills. Earnings of carpenters can be irregular, due to halts in construction that result from bad weather or reduced funds.

Average Annual Salary

Carpenters in the United States earned an average annual salary of £27,911, according to a May 2008 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median annual salary of carpenters was £25,311. Salaries for the middle 50 per cent ranged from £19,493 to £34,300, according to the report. The best-compensated 10th earned upward of £45,071, while the lowest-paid 10 per cent earned less than £15,756.

Average Hourly Wage

Many carpenters are paid hourly, as opposed to an annual salary. According to a May 2008 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage of carpenters in the United States was £13.40. Carpenters earned median hourly wages of £12.10, and the middle 50 per cent earned between £9.30 and £16.40. The 10 per cent of the occupation who earned the lowest salaries made less than £7.50. The highest-paid 10 per cent made more than £21.60.

Work Experience

The earnings of carpenters tend to increase along with work experience. According to an April 2010 salary survey by the private company Payscale.com, the median expected hourly earnings of a carpenter fall between £5.90 and £9.60. That wage range increases to £7.90 through £12.60 for carpenters with between one and four years of work experience. Carpenters with between five and nine years of work experience can expect to bring home between £9.50 and £14.40, while those with between 10 and 19 years of work experience earn between £10.10 and £16.30. Carpenters who have been on the job for more than 20 years bring home between £11.40 and £17.9.


Another factor that can have a significant impact on the earnings of carpenters is industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics produced salary reports on the four U.S. industries with the highest levels of employment of carpenters and found that the non-residential building construction industry paid out the highest salaries. Carpenters in that industry earned £31,024 annually, or £14.90 per hour. Those in the building finishers contract industry made £29,360 per year and £14.10 hourly. The annual salary for carpenters in the residential building industry averaged £26,656 annually and £12.80 hourly. The foundation, structure and building exterior contractors industry paid carpenters £26,494 per year, which equals £12.70 per hour.

Geographic Location

Salaries are also affected by geographic location. In general, carpenters who work in metropolitan areas earn higher incomes than those working in nonmetropolitan areas. This is likely due to the relatively higher cost of living in urban areas. According to a May 2008 Bureau of Labor Statistics report, carpenters working in the state of Hawaii earned the highest average annual salaries out of all carpenters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. They made £40,579 per year on average. Carpenters working in Illinois made £37,531, while those in Alaska earned £36,250. Area-specific salary data can be obtained using the “create customised table” function on the BLS website.

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