Career Information: Carpenters (page 2)

— U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Updated on Mar 13, 2010

How much does this job pay? 

In 2006, the middle half of all carpenters earned between $13.55 and $23.85 an hour. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned less than $10.87 an hour. The highest-paid 10 percent earned over $30.45 an hour.

Sometimes carpenters may lose work time in bad weather and when the economy is not doing well. When this happens, their pay drops.
How many jobs are there? 

Carpenters held about 1.5 million jobs in 2006. Most of them worked for contractors who build or repair buildings. Most others worked for manufacturing firms, government agencies, retail stores, and schools. About one-third of all carpenters were self-employed.

Carpenters get jobs in most parts of the country, but there are more jobs in big cities where many things are always being built.

What about the future?

Finding a job as a carpenter should be easy. From 2006 to 2016, thousands of jobs will become available each year because the occupation is so large, meaning that many people are always entering and leaving the occupation. However, there is still the chance of losing a job. This happens because many construction jobs do not last a long time and bad weather may halt other jobs. The availability of carpenter jobs also depends on the part of the country where a person lives. Construction jobs go where people and businesses move and where the local business is good. Therefore, the number of jobs in any year will be different from area to area.

Employment of carpenters is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2016. Construction jobs will increase as people want new houses and firms want to make old buildings new again. However, carpenters are using more materials that allow them to work faster. This reduces the number of carpenters that need to be hired.

Building things depends on the economy. When the economy is not doing well, there are a smaller number of jobs for carpenters.

New and improved tools make the job of a carpenter more flexible. Therefore, carpenters with the latest equipment and all-around skills tend to work on the better projects.

Are there other jobs like this?   

  • Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons
  • Cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers
  • Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters
  • Plasterers and stucco masons

Where can you find more information?  

More BLS information about carpenters can be found in the Occupational Outlook Handbook. The Handbook also shows where to find out even more about this job.

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