2024 US Trade Report

USA Trade Report highest paying jobs

The most in-demand and highest-paying trade jobs around the US

The construction industry is responsible for the building and maintenance of infrastructures of all shapes and sizes. With recent figures indicating an industry value of more than $1.8 trillion in the US alone, our US trade report makes it clear that construction trades are a massive contributor to the US economy.

Whether you are a seasoned veteran or don’t know the difference between a toy screwdriver and the best cordless drill, there are opportunities for everyone wanting to make it in the industry. We gathered data on the current state of trade jobs to provide you with all the information you need if you are looking to get your foot in the door.

With an average annual wage of more than $100,000, elevator and escalator installers are the biggest earners when it comes to trade jobs

We analyzed data on various construction-related trades to kick off our US trade report. Our goal was to find which jobs are the biggest money-makers in the industry. Here’s what we discovered.

Highest-paying trade jobs in the USA

04 Highest paying trade jobs in the USA

1. Elevator and escalator installer – $100,060 per year

With an average annual salary of over $100,000 a year, elevator and escalator installers top the list. While power tools are a big help, the role of elevator and escalator technicians can be very physically demanding. Workers often work in high spaces or cramped areas, depending on the situation at hand.

2. Electrical power-line installer – $85,900 per year

Earning an average of $85,900 annually, electrical power-line installers handle the installation, maintenance, and repair of the power grid. This job can be quite hazardous due to the high voltages involved. It often requires working at great heights or in adverse weather conditions. The job demands strong technical skills, problem-solving abilities, and a robust understanding of electrical systems.

3. Aircraft mechanics technician – $76,260 per year

Aircraft mechanic technicians earn around $76,260 per year and are crucial in ensuring the safety and functionality of aircraft. Their work involves inspecting, repairing, maintaining, and occasionally overhauling aircraft engines and systems. This role requires specialized training, often through an FAA-approved program. It can also include working odd hours, including nights and weekends, to keep up with flight schedules.

Highest-earning states for tradespeople

Looking across all occupations in the “construction & extraction” sector, here are the states where people can expect to earn the most.

05 Highest earning states for tradespeople

1. Hawaii – $79,770

Hawaii ranks highest with an average wage of $79,770 for construction and extraction workers. The state’s unique geographic and economic circumstances significantly contribute to this figure. Being an isolated group of islands, Hawaii faces unique logistics and supply chain challenges. This tends to drive up both construction costs and wages. Additionally, the high cost of living and continuous demand for residential and commercial development, driven by tourism and local needs, keep salaries high. The construction sector in Hawaii often deals with specific regulations and environmental considerations. These may require more specialized and even higher-paid labor.

2. Massachusetts – $79,120

Massachusetts closely follows with an average wage of $79,120. This state’s strong economy, anchored by technology, education, and healthcare sectors, fuels ongoing construction projects, including new developments and renovations of historic sites. The presence of top-tier universities and a booming tech sector in areas like Cambridge and Boston increases demand for specialized construction work, pushing up wages. Massachusetts also has a high cost of living, particularly in the greater Boston area, which translates into higher average salaries.

3. New Jersey – $77,840

With an average wage of $77,840, New Jersey also has high earnings for construction and extraction occupations. Its location as a corridor between major metropolitan areas like New York City and Philadelphia significantly contributes to its construction industry. There is a consistent demand for infrastructure development and maintenance, residential construction, and commercial projects. The state’s economic diversity, from pharmaceuticals to finance, ensures a steady demand for specialized construction services. Like Massachusetts, the high cost of living, especially in the northern part of the state close to New York City, likely elevates average wages. Employers must offer competitive compensation in order to attract skilled workers.

Maintenance and repair workers are the most common construction trade in the US, with more than 1.5 million employees across the country

The following list reveals which trades currently have the most employees based on data from May 2023.

The most common trade jobs in the USA

06 most common trade jobs in the USA

1. Maintenance and repair worker – 1,503,150 employees

As the name suggests, maintenance and repair workers are responsible for fixing machines and equipment. They also handle the upkeep of commercial buildings. Aside from the fact that no two days are the same, this role is popular as you don’t need specific work experience. Most people learn while on the job.

2. Construction laborer – 1,019,090 employees

Construction laborers are next on our list of the most common trades in the US, with over 1 million employees. These laborers put on their work boots and play a vital role in the construction industry, contributing significantly to the country’s many ongoing infrastructure projects.

3. Electrician – 712,580 employees

Electricians complete our top three list of the most common trades in the US, with more than 712,000 workers nationwide. Unlike the other entries on our list, US electricians are found the most on the West Coast. Almost 10% of all employees in this field work in California alone.

With a total of 55,579 active job opportunities, maintenance and repair workers are in higher demand than any other construction trade

Utilizing current job opportunities across the US, we have ranked trade jobs based on those with the most online vacancies.

Most in-demand trade jobs in the USA

07 Most in demand trade jobs in the USA

1. Maintenance and repair worker – 55,579 total  job opportunities

If you are looking for work as a maintenance and repair worker, you shouldn’t need to look too far. This trade has over 55,000 online vaccines across job recruitment websites, more than any other entry on our list.

2. Construction laborer – 41,570 total job opportunities

It has already been revealed that construction laborers are one of the most common trades in the US. Bearing this in mind, it may come as no surprise that there are many online job opportunities in this field, over 41,000 in total.

3. HVAC installer – 32,764 total job opportunities

There are 32,764 job opportunities available for HVAC installers, making it the third most in-demand trade. The vacancy surge for HVAC installers is likely driven by new building construction, renovations of existing structures, and the increasing focus on energy efficiency and climate control technologies in living and working environments.

Which trade jobs have grown in popularity the most?

We’ve also looked back over the last five years to see which construction and trades industry jobs have seen the most significant growth since 2018.

08 Which trade jobs have grown in popularity the most

1. Earth Drillers (Except Oil and Gas) – 177.2% increase

  • May 2018 employment: 18,270
  • May 2023 employment: 50,640

Earth drillers, excluding those in the oil and gas sectors, top the list with a striking 177.2% increase in employment. This surge is likely influenced by the expansion of geothermal energy projects and increased demand for environmental drilling. This includes soil and water testing, which is crucial for assessing pollution levels and ensuring the structural integrity of proposed construction sites.

2. Solar Photovoltaic Installers – 173.9% increase

  • May 2018 employment: 8,950
  • May 2023 employment: 24,510

The significant increase in solar photovoltaic (solar panel) installers by 173.9% reflects the growing global emphasis on renewable energy sources. Government incentives, decreasing costs of solar technology, and increased consumer interest in reducing carbon footprints have all contributed to the growing demand for professionals in this field.

3. Rail-Track Laying and Maintenance Equipment Operators – 30.3% increase

  • May 2018 employment: 14,410
  • May 2023 employment: 18,770

The third highest growth was observed among rail-track laying and maintenance equipment operators, with a 30.3% increase. This growth can be attributed to expansions in rail infrastructure and increased freight transport as economies expand and urbanize.

Floor layers have the most significant wage progression of any trade job, with a $170,000 difference between entry-level and senior roles

Money is a significant factor when looking for a long-term career in the construction trade. The key is knowing which roles offer the most considerable pay progression. Here’s what we found.

US trade jobs with the most significant wage difference

09 US trade jobs with the most significant wage difference

1. Floor layer – $170,000 change in wage

Floor layers are responsible for installing and repairing a range of flooring materials. According to current job vacancy data, experience as a floor layer could take your salary from $30,000 to $200,000. This is the most significant pay progression of any trade on our list.

2. Roofer – $125,000 change in wage

Roofers appear next on our list, with a $125,000 difference in wages between experience levels, are roofers. While senior roles in this field are concerned more with the coordination and overseeing of roofing projects, the significant progression in wages makes this industry the perfect for someone looking for a long-term career in construction.

3. Construction laborer/wind turbine technician – $105,000 change in wage

Two jobs are tied for third place, construction laborers and wind turbine technicians, with a potential progression of $105,000. Laborers perform various tasks at construction sites and see significant skill and responsibility growth as they progress. Wind turbine technicians install, maintain, and repair wind turbines. Senior roles may involve managing large-scale installations or complex technical challenges.

Welding jobs are more searched for than any other in the US, with over 338,000 Google searches in the last year

Using search data from the last twelve months, we can reveal which trades are most spiking people’s interest.

Most searched-for trade jobs in the USA

10 Most searched for trade jobs in the USA

1. Welder – 151,100 Google searches

Welders top the list with a substantial lead, boasting 338,300 searches. The surge in interest could be due to the crucial role welders play in various sectors. This includes manufacturing, construction, and automotive industries. Welding jobs often require a high skill level and provide the potential for stable employment due to ongoing industrial projects and infrastructural developments.

2. Electrician – 156,000 Google searches

Across the US, ‘electrician jobs’ have been Googled more than 156,000 times in the last year alone. This ties it for second. As our society continues using technology more than ever before, electricians are becoming increasingly vital, with responsibilities including the electrical wiring of buildings.

3. Heavy equipment operator – 147,800 Google searches

Sharing second place are heavy equipment operators. In the last twelve months, the term ‘heavy equipment operator jobs’ has been Googled almost 148,000 times. These professionals operate machinery such as excavators, bulldozers, and cranes, which are essential for construction and mining projects.

What next for the US trade industry?

Demand for skilled trades is always high, and it looks like the industry is set to continue to grow in the US, which is influenced by a couple of critical factors:

  • Infrastructure and construction boom: With significant investments in infrastructure by the government, including upgrading roads, bridges, and public utilities, the demand for skilled tradespeople in the construction, electrical, and plumbing sectors is expected to surge. Projects like these require a large workforce skilled in various trades, suggesting a stable future for job growth in these areas.
  • Renewable energy & sustainability: As we saw earlier, the push towards renewable energy and sustainable practices drives demand for trades such as solar panel installers and wind turbine technicians. As the U.S. aims to reduce carbon emissions, these sectors are expected to grow, requiring more skilled workers trained in new technologies that support green energy.
  • Aging workforce & skills gaps: A significant portion of the trades workforce is nearing retirement age, creating a demand for new workers to fill their shoes. This generational shift presents a critical challenge and an opportunity to train new workers with modern skills, particularly as the nature of trade jobs evolves with technology.
  • Technological advancement: Automation and new technologies are transforming traditional trade jobs, requiring a workforce that is not only skilled in manual labor but also familiar with digital tools. For instance, integrating AI and machine learning in building information modeling and smart home technology requires electricians and other tradespeople to upskill.
  • Education & training shifts: There’s a growing recognition of the value of vocational education and apprenticeships over traditional four-year college degrees for many individuals. This shift will likely bring more young workers into the trades, helped by increased funding for vocational training programs.
  • Housing & urban development: The ongoing need for residential and commercial development in urban and suburban areas continues to drive demand for skilled tradespeople. Additionally, the remodeling and renovation sector remains strong as existing property owners invest in upgrades and sustainability improvements.

Overall, U.S. trade industry growth is driven by both continued demand and the need to evolve. The future looks promising for those already in the industry or those considering entering. We predict ample career development and advancement opportunities, among other benefits. However, adapting to technological changes and continuous skill development will be crucial for those looking to capitalize on these opportunities.


We used the US Bureau of Labor Statistics to find the following data for each relevant job under the “construction and extraction” sector as of May 2023:

  • Mean hourly wage
  • Annual mean wage
  • Number of employees

Using the geographic profile on the same data source, we found the following data for each trade job as of May 2023:

  • US state with the highest employment count
  • US state with the highest annual mean wage

Using the above seeding list, we used LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor to find the number of job opportunities for each trade in the US. We added the number of jobs across the three websites to find the total job opportunities for each trade.

Using the ‘experience level’ filter on Indeed, we found the number of entry-level and senior-level jobs for each trade. We then used the ‘pay’ filter to find the lowest available wage for entry-level jobs and the highest available wage for senior-level jobs.

Subtracting the highest senior-level wage from the lowest entry-level wage, we then found the difference between wages within jobs.

Google Keyword Planner helped us find the total number of Google searches for the term ‘occupation + jobs’ between May 2023 – April 2024, filtering these searches by ‘United States.’ We ranked these from highest to lowest to find the current most-searched-for occupations in the US.

Data was collected on 23/04/2024.

Filtering the data by ‘One occupation for multiple geographical areas,’ ‘Construction & extraction occupations,’ ‘State,’ ‘All states in this list,’ and ‘Annual mean wage,’ we used the US Bureau of Labor Statistics to find the mean construction & extraction occupations wage for each US state as of May 2023. We used Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for May 2023 and May 201 to calculate the five-year difference in employment. We took the employment level for all construction and extraction occupations in the data for both months before calculating the difference between them.

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