These Are The 10 States With The Highest Forklift Operator Salaries For 2017

Chris Kolmar
by Chris Kolmar
Rankings, Salaries - 10 months ago
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Without fail, in surveys across basically every demographic, the number one most important aspect of a job for most people is the salary — how much do forklift operators get paid where I live?

And while there are many things to go into how much you, specifically, can expect to make, there’s really good data for average salaries for forklift operators by state across America broken down by seniority level. So while your city may be slightly different than the state average, these averages give you a rough sense of what to expect for your salary.

To better understand how salaries change across America, we decided to take a look the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on average pay for forklift operators by state.

Additionally, we wanted to adjust the salary based on the cost of living in a state — because your salary goes further in North Carolina than it does in California.

The state with the best salary for forklift operators after this adjustment? That would be Industrial Truck And Tractor Operators.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the top ten states for salaries:

  1. North Dakota
  2. Kansas
  3. Wyoming
  4. Washington
  5. Michigan
  6. Alaska
  7. Missouri
  8. Minnesota
  9. West Virginia
  10. Iowa

Let’s take a look at how we got here and a full ranking of all the states.

If you’re interested, you can read more about the job scene here:

How we determined pay by state

As we mentioned earlier, we took the average annual salary data for forklift operators from the 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics — specifically their ‘Occupational Employment Statistics.’

To make the comparison of salaries apples to apples across states, we also took into account the cost of living in each state.

We then created an index by dividing the average wage for a state by the cost of living relative to average. As an example, the cost of living index in California is 135.9 and the average pay is $35850, so our index value would be:

$35,850 * (100 / 135.9) = $26,379

We then ranked every state on this criteria with the state with the highest salary index ranking as highest average salary for forklift operators.

Here’s a look at the full ranking for all states.

Detailed List Of Forklift Operator Salaries By State

Rank State Adjusted Salary Average Wage Cost Of Living
1 North Dakota $42,726 $42,470 99.4
2 Kansas $40,044 $36,000 89.9
3 Wyoming $39,825 $36,560 91.8
4 Washington $39,553 $41,610 105.2
5 Michigan $38,202 $34,000 89.0
6 Alaska $38,199 $50,080 131.1
7 Missouri $38,008 $34,360 90.4
8 Minnesota $37,906 $38,210 100.8
9 West Virginia $37,655 $35,170 93.4
10 Iowa $37,472 $34,100 91.0
11 Indiana $37,374 $33,450 89.5
12 Oklahoma $37,006 $33,010 89.2
13 Utah $36,688 $34,120 93.0
14 Wisconsin $36,497 $35,330 96.8
15 Louisiana $36,445 $34,550 94.8
16 Pennsylvania $36,390 $36,900 101.4
17 Illinois $36,321 $34,360 94.6
18 New Mexico $36,238 $34,970 96.5
19 Nevada $36,214 $37,410 103.3
20 Nebraska $35,982 $32,960 91.6
21 Idaho $35,863 $33,030 92.1
22 Delaware $35,857 $36,360 101.4
23 Ohio $35,767 $33,550 93.8
24 Arkansas $35,166 $30,630 87.1
25 Virginia $35,158 $35,440 100.8
26 Alabama $35,043 $31,960 91.2
27 Georgia $34,890 $31,890 91.4
28 Kentucky $34,729 $31,430 90.5
29 Arizona $34,673 $33,980 98.0
30 Mississippi $34,342 $29,500 85.9
31 Tennessee $34,317 $30,680 89.4
32 Texas $34,134 $30,960 90.7
33 Montana $33,988 $34,260 100.8
34 Florida $33,906 $33,330 98.3
35 Colorado $33,554 $34,830 103.8
36 North Carolina $33,386 $31,350 93.9
37 New Hampshire $32,940 $38,540 117.0
38 South Carolina $32,893 $32,630 99.2
39 Maryland $32,884 $41,270 125.5
40 Oregon $32,145 $37,160 115.6
41 South Dakota $31,600 $32,770 103.7
42 Connecticut $31,135 $39,760 127.7
43 Maine $31,074 $34,430 110.8
44 Rhode Island $30,985 $37,400 120.7
45 Vermont $30,107 $36,460 121.1
46 New York $29,343 $38,440 131.0
47 Massachusetts $29,137 $38,870 133.4
48 New Jersey $29,064 $35,430 121.9
49 Hawaii $27,849 $46,760 167.9
50 California $26,379 $35,850 135.9