The term prevailing wage rates refers to the median wages earned by employees who work in a specific location, performing a specific job. In most instances, a prevailing wage rate is determined for each individual county within a state. Certain jobs or positions will be defined, such as general laborer, and the median hourly earnings will be determined for each of these positions.
The prevailing wage attributed to a specific profession can vary significantly from one state to another, and even from one county to another. An individual should be able to locate a chart that identifies the prevailing wage rates for a his/her state online. In most instances, the chart will be divided into counties and a different prevailing wage will listed for each position. For example, in the county of Columbia, Washington, the prevailing wage for brick pavers is $32.41, while in Pierce County, also located in Washington, the prevailing wage for the same position is $40.03.
In addition to considering median hourly wages, prevailing wage rates may also take into account the benefits that accompany this position and the potential overtime pay. Prevailing wage rates do not necessarily determine the amount that an individual will earn if he/she works in this profession.
Despite the existence of a relatively high prevailing wage rate, an individual can still earn as little as the specified minimum wage. However, by reviewing this information, an individual can determine the approximate, average earnings of a professional in a specified field within a certain location. Comparing various prevailing wages can help him/her to discover where his/her profession is most successful and which professionals are most successful in his/her location.