The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a median wage of $15.81 per hour or $32,890 per year as of 2014 for material moving machine operators, under which overhead crane operators belong. Payscale.com reports that earnings for overhead crane operators vary from $11.02 to $23.19 per hour as of 2015.
The Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 mandates that contractors of large federal projects pay crane operators locally appropriate wages. This makes California among the highest-paying employers of overhead crane operators. For example, Davis-Bacon pay rates for overhead crane operators mandate that crane operators begin at Group 5 of the pay scale, which translates to $42.73 per hour, while tower crane operators begin at Group 10, or $44.30 per hour.