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Updated July 11, 2022

Average Forklift Operator Salary

$16.21 hourly
To create our salary estimates, Zippia starts with data published in publicly available sources such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Foreign Labor Certification Data Center (FLC) Show More

$33,726 yearly

Entry level Salary
$28,000 yearly
$28,000
10 %
$33,726
Median
$39,000
90 %

How much does a Forklift Operator make?

Forklift operators make $33,726 per year on average, or $16.21 per hour, in the United States. Forklift operators on the lower end of that spectrum, the bottom 10% to be exact, make roughly $28,000 a year, while the top 10% makes $39,000.

Location impacts how much a forklift operator can expect to make. Forklift operators make the most in North Dakota, Alaska, Minnesota, Vermont, and Oregon.

Highest Paying States For Forklift Operators

The darker areas on the map show where forklift operators earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

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Average Salary:

Forklift Operator average salary by State

Rank  State  Avg. Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Count  
1Wisconsin$35,762$17.191,655
2North Dakota$39,739$19.11137
3Minnesota$37,511$18.031,204
4Pennsylvania$35,268$16.963,811
5Nevada$36,207$17.41423
6Rhode Island$35,675$17.15336
7Utah$35,866$17.24537
8Alaska$38,056$18.30129
9Massachusetts$36,238$17.422,265
10Iowa$34,640$16.65829
11Vermont$37,409$17.99108
12Ohio$34,301$16.492,190
13Maryland$36,068$17.341,923
14Oregon$36,513$17.55555
15Indiana$33,266$15.992,275
16Washington$36,342$17.47851
17Michigan$33,618$16.161,658
18Kansas$33,694$16.20648
19Montana$36,079$17.3571
20Maine$35,529$17.08128
21Arizona$33,458$16.091,109
22Illinois$33,685$16.192,434
23West Virginia$33,861$16.28112
24Kentucky$32,122$15.44951
25California$35,168$16.914,777
26Wyoming$34,078$16.3837
27Idaho$33,194$15.96225
28Colorado$34,586$16.63576
29New Hampshire$32,791$15.76295
30New Jersey$32,713$15.732,920
31Hawaii$34,298$16.49134
32Missouri$32,869$15.80803
33New York$34,617$16.641,322
34Tennessee$30,434$14.631,275
35District of Columbia$35,533$17.08127
36Connecticut$33,314$16.02387
37Nebraska$32,316$15.54276
38Delaware$33,168$15.95135
39South Dakota$32,629$15.69103
40North Carolina$30,128$14.481,461
41Georgia$29,899$14.372,357
42Arkansas$29,482$14.17402
43Texas$30,268$14.552,616
44Virginia$32,247$15.501,139
45Florida$30,810$14.812,240
46South Carolina$29,854$14.35634
47Oklahoma$30,421$14.63312
48Mississippi$28,358$13.63371
49Louisiana$29,710$14.28272
50Alabama$28,641$13.77516
51New Mexico$29,631$14.2585

Highest Paying Cities For Forklift Operators

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Rank  City  Avg. Salary  Hourly Rate  
1Minneapolis, MN$37,487$18.02
2Portland, OR$36,552$17.57
3Des Moines, WA$36,360$17.48
4Salt Lake City, UT$35,875$17.25
5Milwaukee, WI$35,753$17.19
6Richmond, CA$35,692$17.16
7Portland, ME$35,454$17.05
8Wilkes-Barre, PA$35,435$17.04
9Lancaster, NY$34,823$16.74
10Cedar Rapids, IA$34,819$16.74
11Denver, CO$34,573$16.62
12Columbus, OH$34,182$16.43
13Kansas City, KS$33,975$16.33
14Chicago, IL$33,754$16.23
15Holland, MI$33,618$16.16

Here Are The Five Most In Demand Cities Right Now:

  1. Minneapolis, MN
  2. Portland, OR
  3. Des Moines, WA
  4. Salt Lake City, UT
  5. Milwaukee, WI

Forklift Operator Salary Details

Forklift Operator Salary

What is a Forklift Operator's Salary?

Percentile  Annual Salary  Monthly Salary  Hourly Rate  
90th Percentile$39,000$3,250$19
75th Percentile$36,000$3,000$17
Average$33,726$2,811$16
25th Percentile$31,000$2,583$15
10th Percentile$28,000$2,333$13

Average Salary By Related Titles

Job Title  Annual Salary  Monthly Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
Warehouse Machine Operator$31,959$2,663$15.37229,051
Handle Machine Operator$29,909$2,492$14.38110,258
Cherry Picker Operator$32,691$2,724$15.72105,023
Reach Truck Operator$33,300$2,775$16.01137,300
Forklift$31,348$2,612$15.07113,257
Operator$35,479$2,957$17.06159,077

Here are the five companies hiring the most now:

  1. PepsiCo Jobs (624)
  2. XPO Logistics Jobs (974)
  3. Tyson Foods Jobs (599)
  4. Lowe's Companies Jobs (881)
  5. The Coca-Cola Company Jobs (1,162)

Which Companies Pay Forklift Operators The Most?

According to our most recent salary estimates, Hormel Foods and Old Dominion Freight Line are the highest paying companies for forklift operators.
Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1Hormel Foods$41,270$19.8450
2Old Dominion Freight Line$41,240$19.83187
3McCormick & Company$41,067$19.74
4TreeHouse Foods$40,809$19.6256
5Seneca Foods$40,453$19.4521
6Schreiber Foods$40,281$19.3729
7Ocean Spray Cranberries$40,100$19.2818
8Post Holdings$40,071$19.2673
9Weber Grills$40,071$19.262
10Rich Products$40,047$19.2565
11Gillette$39,924$19.19
12Pilgrim's$39,878$19.1714
13PepsiCo$39,850$19.16353
14Marzetti$39,807$19.1414
15Bob's Red Mill$39,787$19.136
16Smithfield Foods$39,753$19.1152
17Wise Foods$39,528$19.0010
18Boise Cascade$39,426$18.9546
19National Beverage$38,907$18.7118
20Dairy Farmers of America$38,862$18.68262

How Much Do Forklift Operators Make In Different Industries?

Here are some examples of how much a forklift operator salaries can based on different industries:

  1. The manufacturing industry pays forklift operators an average salary of $35,487

  2. The transportation industry pay $34,764

  3. The lowest paying industry for forklift operators is the retail industry. Forklift operators in this industry earn an average salary of $34,295

Highest Paying Industries For Forklift Operators

Rank  Industry  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  
1Manufacturing$35,487$17.06
2Transportation$34,764$16.71
3Technology$34,496$16.58
4Automotive$34,456$16.57
5Retail$34,295$16.49

High Paying Forklift Operator Jobs

Forklift Operator Salary Trends

The salary for a forklift operator can vary depending on the years of experience that a person has, from entry level to senior level. Data on how experience level affects total compensation is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as part of their National Compensation Survey, which is based on factors such as knowledge, complexity, contacts, and environment.

Average Forklift Operator Salary Over Time

Compare salaries for individual cities or states with the national average.

    Forklift Operator Salary By Year

    Year  Avg. Salary  Hourly Rate  % Change  
    2022$33,700$16.21+3.6%
    2021$32,500$15.63+4.0%
    2020$31,200$15.00+3.2%
    2019$30,200$14.52+3.5%
    2018$29,100$14.01+1.1%

    Recently Added Forklift Operator Salaries

    Company  Job  Location  Date Added  Salary  
    Axiom Staffing Group1St. Shift Forklift OperatorsHanover, PA01/26/2202$27,131
    Flexible StaffingForklift OperatorEl Paso, TX06/02/2022$24,001
    Flexible StaffingForklift OperatorColumbia City, IN06/02/2022$35,479
    TalentlogistixForklift OperatorAvon, IN06/02/2022$39,653
    Albany Times UnionForklift OperatorAlbany, NY06/01/2022$34,436
    Niagara BottlingForklift Operator Shift 5PM To 5AMPhoenix, AZ06/01/2022$25,044
    Shaw IndustriesForklift Operator/Warehouse Worker-2Nd ShiftDenver, CO06/01/2022$44,474
    Terra Staffing GroupForklift Operator | Multiple Shifts |Phoenix, AZ06/01/2022$37,566
    Grammer USAForklift OperatorToone, TN06/01/2022$37,670
    AtworkForklift OperatorDenver, CO06/01/2022$37,566

    Forklift Operator Salaries FAQs

    What state pays Forklift Operators the most?

    North Dakota pays Forklift Operators the most in the United States, with an average salary of $39,739 per year, or $19.11 per hour.

    How do I know if I'm being paid fairly as a Forklift Operator?

    You know if you are being paid fairly as a Forklift Operator if your pay is close to the average pay for the state you live in. For example, if you live in Alaska you should be paid close to $38,056 per year.

    What type of Forklift Operator gets paid the most?

    Dock Worker/Forklift Operator gets paid the most. Dock Worker/Forklift Operator made a median salary of $38,716. The best-paid 10 percent make $40,000, while the lowest-paid 10 percent make $36,000.

    What is a good starting salary for a Forklift Operator?

    A good starting salary for a forklift operator is $28,000 in the United States. That puts you in the 10th percentile of annual income for a forklift operator in the U.S., which is about what you would expect if you were new to the field. The average salary for forklift operators is $33,726, but that normally requires some level of experience to achieve. Furthermore, a good starting salary for a forklift operator can vary by state.

    Do forklift drivers make good money?

    No, forklift drivers do not make good money. The national average salary for a forklift driver is only $28,000 a year. This equals about $14 an hour.

    The lowest-paid forklift drivers are only paid $19,000 a year, while the highest-paid forklift drivers only reach about $35,000 in total annual salary. This is well below the average salary across all jobs in the United States.

    What is the highest-paid forklift operator?

    A forklift supervisor is the highest-paid forklift operator. Forklift supervisors typically make around double what forklift operators make, with an average salary of about $60,000 a year.

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