The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, October 03, 2003

Construction pay, benefit rates up, but they've been higher

By The Building Tradesman

U.S. construction union wage and benefit settlements through September 2003 have resulted in an average first-year increase of $1.36 or 4.1 percent, and a second-year increase of $1.35 or 3.8 percent.

The numbers were released in September from the Construction Labor Research Council, which said these amounts are slightly less than averages reported earlier this year and the averages reported at this time last year, which was 4.2 percent for first-year contracts.

The CLRC said three-year deals "increased in favor. The pattern of even longer agreements which had been growing in recent years appears to have subsided."

Average construction wage and benefit increases have started to level off after a slow but steady rise between 1994 and 2001. Average increases in pay and benefits levels for all trades topped off at 5.0 percent or $1.54 per hour in mid-2001, but have since fallen.

Meanwhile, over on the nonunion side, Personnel Administration Services (PAS Inc.) reports that wage hikes for journeymen and foremen have averaged about 3.48 percent in 2003, based on surveys of open shop contractors, down from 3.91 percent in 2002.