There's no question that doing business in New York City is a difficult proposition for builders, what with the lack of affordable land, congestion, logistics and, at least in days past, the Mafia. Then there's the issue of labor cost. Here's Crain's New York Business on that:

How much do construction workers in New York make? It ought to be an easy question to answer, but it is not, which is why it is so hard to settle the controversy over whether builders should have to use union labor when they receive tax breaks or other government help, especially to create affordable housing.

Let’s start with what we know. The average wage of a construction worker in New York City reached $76,300 last year, up modestly since 2011, according to a recent report from the New York Building Congress. The study broke out wages into three broad categories with the best paid being heavy construction and civil engineering (think of those unionized crane operators who can make $400,000 a year). The report is based on a reasonably reliable quarterly census of employment and wages.

Builders say those figures don’t reflect their costs for using union labor. During 2015, for example, the carpenters’ contract called for an hourly rate of $49.88 plus $44.10 in supplemental benefits. By extrapolating those numbers, an employer-circulated chart put the total compensation for a carpenter at just under $200,000 a year.

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