Machinists manufacture precision metal parts using machine tools, some of which are computer numerically controlled. Although these CNC machines produce metal parts by following a computer program, machinists are still needed to operate the equipment and sometimes to participate in program development. Most CNC machinists earn at least $29,000 per year as of 2009.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics includes CNC machinists with all machinists in its salary figures for this occupation. The agency website comments that most machinists train in CNC programming, and many must use both manual and computer-controlled machinery. Some write basic machine programs and modify programs to resolve problems. The average salary for CNC machinists and other machinists as of May 2009 was $18.72 per hour, or $38,940 per year.
The middle 50 percent of CNC machinists were making $14.27 to $22.60 per hour in 2009, or $29,690 to $47,010 per year. The bottom 10 percent had wages of $11.34 per hour and less, and the top 10 percent were earning $27.52 and higher, or $57,250 per year and more.
Types of Employment
The largest number of CNC machinists in 2009 worked in an employment sector the bureau defines as machine shops; turned product; and screw, nut and bolt manufacturing. The average salary for CNC machinists in this type of employment was $17.86 per hour, or $37,150 per year. Those working in metalworking machinery manufacturing were making $18.78 per hour, or $39,060 per year; in motor vehicle parts manufacturing $19.09 per hour, or $39,710 per year; and in aerospace product and parts manufacturing $20.73 per hour, or $43,110 per year.
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Employment per Capita
Wisconsin had the most CNC machinists and other machinists per capita by state in 2009. Their average salary in this state was $19.31 per hour, or $40,170 per year. Rounding out the top five states with the largest concentration of CNC machinists and other machinists were Ohio, with an average wage of $17.88 per hour, Michigan at $19.80, Connecticut at $19.77 and Indiana at $18.61 per hour. Rockford, Illinois, was the top-ranking metropolitan area for the number of machinists per capita, and their average wage in that city was $16.61 per hour, or $34,560 per year.
The highest-paying region by state or district for CNC machinists and other machinists in 2009 was the District of Columbia, where these workers had an average salary of $26.57 per hour, or $55,270 per year. Other high-paying regions were Hawaii, where the average CNC machinist salary was $25.22 per hour, Washington at $22.83, Maryland at $22.54 and Alaska at $22.45.