Plumbers Experiencing Post-COVID Boom in Many Markets
Published on June 22, 2021 by Nate Bortz
Thanks to a “perfect storm” of circumstances, including increasing home renovation and a recovering economy, new market data is showing that now is an especially great time to be a plumber. Currently, plumbers in some markets, particularly in the Midwest, are seeing average wages over $100,000.
Despite this good news, the plumbing industry is still facing major labor shortages across the country. That’s why we’re highlighting this exciting news. If you’re considering a career in plumbing, this article is for you. Or, if you’re an experienced plumber who’s open to a “change of scenery” that provides more work opportunities and more pay, this article is for you, too.
Read on to learn more about:
- Why the demand for plumbers is surging
- What parts of the country offer the highest average salaries
- How to start your plumbing career
What Lead to Rising Wages?
Over the last 15 months or so, the demand for plumbers has reached historic levels. A recent report by Construction Coverage found that Google searches for plumbers skyrocketed to their highest levels in five years. In an NPR interview, Porch.com Chief Economist Max Anderson said Americans are spending more on home improvements than they have in the history of the United States.
This trend of more home renovation spending is largely the result of more people spending time at home, low interest rates, and limited housing inventory. Despite professional remodeling projects slowing down during last year’s “stay-at-home” orders, plumbers stayed busy during the early days of the pandemic. And now that most of the country is “opening up” again and more homeowners are moving from DIY improvements to hiring professionals, the demand for plumbers keeps growing.
But despite the growing demand, the National Homebuilder’s Association’s Spring 2021 Construction Market Report found a shocking 55% shortage of plumbers available for work. As you’ll soon see, some areas may pay better than others, but no matter where you are in the country, you can find work as a plumber!
The Plumbers Goldmine
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says a typical plumber makes $56,330 annually; 34.3% more than the national median annual wage. But in some markets, the average nearly doubles that amount.
According to Construction Coverage, after adjusting for cost-of-living, Illinois ($95,544), Alaska ($83,730) Minnesota ($80,408), Oregon ($73,620), Michigan ($73,510), Wisconsin ($71,349), and Nebraska ($71,039) offer some of the highest median annual wages for plumbers. Some metro areas within Illinois (Kankakee) even reach $104,273!
In contrast, places like Florida ($43,119), New Mexico ($48,079), and North Carolina ($48,288) offer salaries paying far less than what a plumber could make in the Midwest.
How to Become a Plumber
There’s no doubt that America needs plumbers, and it’s a well-paying, growing profession! If you’re convinced that a career in plumbing might be for you, here are some steps you can take to get started:
- Research your state’s requirements – Or just look at our simple licensing FAQ pages by clicking Exam Prep → Choosing Your State → Clicking Your State’s FAQ Page
- Gain the experience your state requires by enrolling in an apprenticeship program (most are paid positions) or by attending a local trade school (which are almost always less expensive than a traditional bachelor’s degree).
- Take and pass a license exam → prepare to pass your exam on your first try by taking one of our online Exam Prep courses!
- Start working!
And, if you’re a licensed plumber who is considering moving to a higher paying state, our Exam Prep courses can help you too! Just choose your desired state to get started.