Average wage in Salt Lake for skilled trades now $20 an hour

(Leah Hogsten | Tribune file photo) Construction worker at the new Salt Lake City International Airport applies finishing touches to wall in 2018.

Amid a shortage of workers during a time of low unemployment, the average pay for skilled trades workers in the Salt Lake City area is now $20 an hour.

That’s according to a report by Xemplar Tradesmen Recruiting, which seeks such workers for clients. For the first time, it published a report this week looking at typical local wages for a variety of trades and for varying years of experience in each — based on the hiring by its clients.

The trades measured include mechanics, welders, machinists and drivers of different types.

It said the typical starting wage for those with no experience in all those trades combined is now $14.84 an hour. For those with 10 years of more of experience, the average is $30.74 an hour.

Average wages for different types of trades include:

• Computer numeric controlled machinists, $23.30 an hour (from $16 an hour for those with one year of experience to $31.33 for those with nine years).

• Equipment mechanics, $22.84 an hour (from $17.50 for unexperienced hires to $31.50 for those with 10 years or more of experience).

• Maintenance mechanics, $21.75 per hour (from $18 for those with two years of experience to $25.17 for those with six years).

• Commercial driver license drivers, $21.25 per hour (from $20.50 for two years of experience to $21.50 to those with four years of experience).

• Welders, $19.62 an hour (from $15.83 for unexperienced hires up to $24.67 for those with seven years of experience).

• Delivery drivers, $17.33 an hour (from a low of $14.50 for people with a year of experience to $20 an hour for those with six years).

“We have seen continued tightening of the tradesmen labor market in Salt Lake City in 2019,” the report says.

“Many clients report a lack of available tradesmen as the No. 1 limitation to their business growth,” it added. “We observe an increased recognition on the part of high-quality trades employers that reasonable wages and thoughtful benefits are an essential combined toolset required to attract quality, long-term tradesmen.”

Adam Himoff, president and CEO of Xemplar, said many companies are struggling to find enough qualified trade workers “in the face of baby boomer retirements and decreased participation by millennials in these trades.”

He added that more companies are competing for limited workers by offer better wages, benefits and training. “We often joke that it’s exciting to see some of the same thinking in terms of attracting and retaining talent that has evolved in the tech industry start to migrate, in its own form, into industrial employment as well.”

Last week, a study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said that Utah has only two workers for every three available jobs — the fifth lowest ratio in the nation.

Also, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported earlier this month that for the second month in a row, the Salt Lake metro area has the lowest unemployment rate among metro areas nationally with at least 1 million people. That rate is 1.9%.

Last month, Utah matched its lowest unemployment rate ever statewide at 2.4%.