Career Development

The Best Cities for Skilled Trades

The United States is currently facing a shortage of skilled trade workers. This is due to several factors, including an emphasis on four-year college degrees and retiring Baby Boomers. This shortage has pushed up wages for those working in skilled trades. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for all construction … Continued

The United States is currently facing a shortage of skilled trade workers. This is due to several factors, including an emphasis on four-year college degrees and retiring Baby Boomers. This shortage has pushed up wages for those working in skilled trades. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for all construction and extraction occupations was $47,430 in May 2019, which was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations of $39,810 *.

A recent report by Porch identified the best cities for skilled trade workers. The rankings were based on median wages, new residential construction spending per skilled trade worker, employment growth for skilled trade workers, private union membership and cost of living.

The Best Large Metros for Skilled Trade Workers

The following metro areas ranked highest in the large metro category (population of 1,000,000+).

1. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV

  • Composite score: 83.61
  • Median annual wage for skilled trade workers: $49,504
  • New residential construction spending per skilled trade worker: $47,374
  • Employment growth for skilled trade workers: 10.6%
  • Private union membership: 13.1%
  • Cost of living: 3.2% below average

2. Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA

  • Composite score: 82.78
  • Median annual wage for skilled trade workers: $52,873
  • New residential construction spending per skilled trade worker: $52,189
  • Employment growth for skilled trade workers: 13.4%
  • Private union membership: 8.2%
  • Cost of living: 3.6% above average

3. St. Louis, MO-IL

  • Composite score: 82.74
  • Median annual wage for skilled trade workers: $58,038
  • New residential construction spending per skilled trade worker: $25,077
  • Employment growth for skilled trade workers: 3.2%
  • Private union membership: 10.7%
  • Cost of living: 9.0% below average

4. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA

  • Composite score: 82.03
  • Median annual wage for skilled trade workers: $57,582
  • New residential construction spending per skilled trade worker: $40,315
  • Employment growth for skilled trade workers: 12.8%
  • Private union membership: 7.6%
  • Cost of living: 3.8% above average

5. Birmingham-Hoover, AL

  • Composite score: 81.86
  • Median annual wage for skilled trade workers: $43,218
  • New residential construction spending per skilled trade worker: $35,046
  • Employment growth for skilled trade workers: 9.9%
  • Private union membership: 8.2%
  • Cost of living: 11.3% below average

6. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

  • Composite score: 81.83
  • Median annual wage for skilled trade workers: $50,079
  • New residential construction spending per skilled trade worker: $37,055
  • Employment growth for skilled trade workers: 12.5%
  • Private union membership: 14.8%
  • Cost of living: 7.0% above average

7. Kansas City, MO-KS

  • Composite score: 81.75
  • Median annual wage for skilled trade workers: $50,693
  • New residential construction spending per skilled trade worker: $40,603
  • Employment growth for skilled trade workers: 7.1%
  • Private union membership: 7.1%
  • Cost of living: 7.1% below average

8. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA

  • Composite score: 81.12
  • Median annual wage for skilled trade workers: $69,513
  • New residential construction spending per skilled trade worker: $28,447
  • Employment growth for skilled trade workers: 12.7%
  • Private union membership: 9.7%
  • Cost of living: 31.6% above average

9. Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN

  • Composite score: 80.45
  • Median annual wage for skilled trade workers: $47,735
  • New residential construction spending per skilled trade worker: $25,221
  • Employment growth for skilled trade workers: 8.1%
  • Private union membership: 8.1%
  • Cost of living: 9.8% below average

10. Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN

  • Composite score: 80.25
  • Median annual wage for skilled trade workers: $48,106
  • New residential construction spending per skilled trade worker: $25,619
  • Employment growth for skilled trade workers: 8.3%
  • Private union membership: 6.7%
  • Cost of living: 10.0% below average

The Best Mid-Size Metros for Skilled Trade Workers

The following metro areas ranked highest in the mid-size metro category (population of 350,000-999,999).

  1. Vallejo-Fairfield, CA (83.90 composite score)
  2. Peoria, IL (83.40)
  3. Colorado Springs, CO (83,36)
  4. Santa Rosa, CA (81.95)
  5. Fort Wayne, IN (81.83)
  6. Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA/IL (81.16)
  7. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY (80.92)
  8. Huntsville, AL (80.33)
  9. Toledo, OH (80.25)
  10. Eugene, OR (80.20)

The Best Small Metros for Skilled Trade Workers

The following metro areas ranked highest in the small metro category (population of 100,000-349,999).

  1. Kennewick-Richland, WA (89.71)
  2. Champaign-Urbana, IL (84.15)
  3. Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA (83.69)
  4. Lake Charles, LA (82.94)
  5. Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ (82.16)
  6. Florence-Muscle Shoals, AL (82.03)
  7. Evansville, IN/KY (81.66)
  8. Prescott, AZ (81.62)
  9. Battle Creek, MI (81.62)
  10. Dover, DE (81.12)

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