Chart Book, May 2009

Industry Focus

Figure 12

Out of all the industries, the electric power generation industry had one of the highest annual mean wages with $63,400, and made up approximately 72 percent of the employment in the utilities sector.

Employment and wages for occupations with the largest employment in the electric power
generation industry, May 2009

  • The five occupations with the highest employment made up nearly a third of the total employment in this industry. The occupation with the largest employment, electrical power-line installers and repairers, made up nearly 13 percent of the total employment in this industry.
  • Some of the higher paying occupations in this industry were various types of managers; lawyers ($145,900); petroleum engineers ($125,850); securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents ($106,080); economists ($102,320); nuclear engineers ($97,060); and computer hardware engineers ($94,110).
  • The annual mean wage for the industry was $63,400. Ninety-five out of 370 reported occupations had wages higher than the industry average.

Figure 13

Similar to the electric power generation industry, the natural gas distribution industry had one of the higher annual mean wages out of all industries, with $62,030.

Employment and wages for occupations with the largest employment in the natural gas
distribution industry, May 2009

  • Many of the occupations in this industry are specific to the industry.
  • The 10 occupations with the highest employment made up almost 42 percent of the total employment in this industry. Electrical power-line installers and repairers made up only 2 percent of the total employment in this industry. This is in contrast to the electric power generation industry where electrical power-line installers and repairers had the highest employment.
  • Some of the highest paying occupations in this industry were various types of managers; lawyers ($155,530); petroleum engineers ($105,470); securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents ($104,380); computer software engineers, systems software ($98,570); sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, technical and scientific products ($97,820); and network systems and data communications analysts ($93,270). There were 92 out of 284 reported occupations with annual mean wages greater than $62,030, the annual mean wage of the industry.

Figure 14

Eight occupations made up over half of employment in heavy and civil engineering construction.

Employment of the largest occupations in the heavy and civil engineering
construction industry, May 2009

  • Heavy and civil engineering construction accounted for nearly 922,000 jobs in May 2009. Over one-half of those jobs consisted of the eight occupations shown in figure 14. These occupations represent the types of jobs that are associated with infrastructure investment projects, such as construction of water systems, highways, bridges, electric power lines, subways, and dams.
  • Construction laborers was one of the largest occupations in each of the heavy and civil engineering construction industries. Of the four industries, highway, street, and bridge construction had the highest share of construction laborers—about 25 percent of industry employment.
  • Other occupations were more concentrated in specific heavy and civil engineering construction industries. For example, nearly all electrical power-line installers and repairers employed in heavy and civil engineering construction worked in utility system construction, while about two-thirds of truck drivers in heavy and civil engineering construction worked in highway, street, and bridge construction.

Figure 15

Truck drivers earned less in heavy and civil engineering construction than across all industries, while carpenters and construction laborers earned more.

Mean hourly wages of the largest occupations in the heavy and civil engineering
construction industry, May 2009

  • Five of the eight occupations shown in figure 15 had wages that were above the U.S. all-occupations mean of $20.90 per hour or $43,460 per year. Construction laborers; pipelayers; and truck drivers, heavy and tractor-trailer, had wages below the U.S. average.
  • Truck drivers and electrical power-line installers and repairers earned less in heavy and civil engineering construction than they did across all industries. For the remaining occupations shown, wages in the heavy and civil engineering construction industry were above or similar to the wages for these occupations across all industries.
  • Construction laborers, pipelayers, and operating engineers earned slightly more in highway, street, and bridge construction than in the other heavy and civil engineering construction industries. Land subdivision was the highest paying heavy and civil engineering construction industry for construction managers and first-line supervisors/ managers of construction trades and extraction workers.

Figure 16

The largest occupations in the private sector tended to be lower paying occupations, while the largest occupations in the public sector tended to have above-average wages.

Employment and wages for the largest occupations in the private sector

  • The largest occupations in the private sector, such as cashiers and food service workers, were relatively low-paying occupations, with wages for all but registered nurses below the U.S. mean wage.
  • Most of the large occupations were service-related occupations or office and administrative support occupations.
  • Employment in the private sector was more widely dispersed by occupation than the public sector, with the largest occupations accounting for 22 percent of employment.

Figure 17

Employment and wages for the largest occupations in local government

  • The education occupations shown in figure 17 accounted for 30 percent of employment in local government. Other occupations in local government were related to education and include school bus drivers, special education teachers, education administrators, and kindergarten teachers, among others.
  • Protective service occupations, such as police and sheriff’s patrol officers, fire fighters, and correctional officers, were among the largest occupations in local government.
  • Wages for many of the largest occupations in local government were above the U.S. average.

Figure 18

Registered nurses was one of the largest occupations in both the private and public sectors.

Employment and wages for the largest occupations in State government

  • Many of the largest occupations in State government were occupations with above-average wages.
  • Of the government sectors, State government had the widest dispersion of employment by occupation, with the largest occupation accounting for 27 percent of employment.
  • Most of the largest occupations in the government sectors were related to education or protective services.
  • Education occupations in State government were predominantly in postsecondary education.

Figure 19

Employment and wages for the largest occupations in Federal Government

  • The largest occupations in the Federal Government were in the Postal Service, including Postal Service mail carriers (12.7 percent), Postal Service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators (6.1 percent), and Postal Service clerks (2.7 percent).
  • As compared with other sectors, most of the large occupations were higher paying in the Federal Government, including computer specialists, all other ($88,920), management analysts ($84,290), and registered nurses ($77,780).

Figure 20

Elementary school teachers, except special education, was the largest occupation in elementary and secondary schools, and accounted for 16 to 18 percent of employment in the industry, depending on the ownership of the school.

Employment shares of selected teaching occupations in elementary and
secondary schools by ownership, May 2009

  • The next largest occupation, secondary school teachers, except special and vocational education, was relatively more prevalent in private schools than State or local government schools.
  • School bus drivers made up 2.9 percent of employment in local government elementary and secondary schools, and only 0.8 percent and 0.3 percent in private and State government schools, respectively.
  • Local government schools employed a significantly higher share of teacher assistants in this industry. Teacher assistants made up 12 percent of the employment for local government elementary and secondary schools, while they made up 10 percent of private schools and 9.6 percent of State government-owned schools.
  • Privately owned schools employed the largest share of education administrators, elementary and secondary school.

Figure 21

For most teaching occupations in elementary and secondary schools, wages tended to be higher in local and State government-owned schools than in private schools.

Wages of selected teaching occupations in elementary and
secondary schools by ownership, May 2009

  • This wage difference was greatest in lower grades.
  • Wages were higher for vocational education teachers and preschool teachers in State government-owned schools than in local government or privately owned schools.
  • Librarians in privately owned schools had lower wages than librarians in State and local government-owned elementary and secondary schools.
  • Mean wages for teacher assistants did not vary much by ownership, ranging from $23,920 in private schools to $25,780 in State elementary and secondary schools.
  • Among private elementary and secondary schools, teachers in more advanced levels of education generally earned higher wages.
  • Special education teachers in the private sector had higher wages than those teachers in the same grade levels who did not teach special education.

Figure 22

Employment in smaller, more specialized occupations was generally concentrated in one industry while employment in less specialized occupations was found in many industries.

Industries with the highest employment concentrations for selected occupations, May 2009

  • More than half a million heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers were employed in general freight trucking, which accounted for 36 percent of this occupation’s total national employment. Twenty-six percent of accountants and auditors, another fairly large occupation, were employed in accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services.
  • Logging equipment operators had the lowest level of employment (23,630) among all the occupations shown in figure 22, and the logging industry employed 83 percent of logging equipment operators.
  • Sheet metal workers and welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers frequently work with metal materials, but the industries with the highest employment for each occupation differed markedly. While building equipment contractors employed nearly half of all sheet metal workers, architectural and structural metals manufacturing employed only 13 percent of welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers.

Figure 23

Editors accounted for 11 percent of employment in the newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers industry.

Employment and hourly mean wages for the largest occupations in the newspaper, periodical,
book, and directory publishers industry, May 2009

  • Two of the largest occupations in the industry were editors (employment of 61,110) and advertising sales agents (49,090).
  • Of the 46,130 reporters and correspondents nationwide, 71 percent of them, or 32,810, were employed in this industry.
  • Only 3 of the 10 largest occupations had hourly wages above the average for all occupations in this industry ($23.54): editors; general and operations managers; and sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, except technical and scientific products.

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Last Modified Date: November 22, 2010