Occupational employment and wages in 2014

April 02, 2015

The occupations with the largest employment in May 2014 were retail salespersons and cashiers. These two occupations combined made up nearly 6 percent of total U.S. employment. There were 4.6 million retail salespersons and 3.4 million cashiers employed in May 2014.

The 10 largest occupations accounted for 21 percent of total employment in May 2014. The largest occupations also included combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food; general office clerks; registered nurses; customer service representatives; and waiters and waitresses. Of these occupations, only registered nurses had an average wage above the average for all occupations in the United States. The average wage for registered nurses was $69,790 per year, compared with the average of $47,230 for all occupations.

Employment and mean annual wages for the largest occupations in the United States, May 2014
Occupation Employment Mean annual wage

Retail salespersons

4,562,160 $25,760

Cashiers

3,398,330 $20,640

Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food

3,131,390 $19,110

Office clerks, general

2,889,970 $30,820

Registered nurses

2,687,310 $69,790

Customer service representatives

2,511,130 $33,890

Waiters and waitresses

2,445,230 $21,640

Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand

2,400,490 $27,180

Secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical, and executive

2,207,220 $34,500

Janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners

2,137,730 $25,460

Most of the largest occupations were relatively low paying. Excluding registered nurses, annual mean wages for the rest of the 10 largest occupations ranged from $19,110 for combined food preparation and serving workers to $34,500 for secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical, and executive. Combined food preparation and serving workers also was one of the lowest-paying occupations overall.

Within every occupation, some workers earn more than the average wage and some earn less. We show these differences with wage percentiles. At the 50th percentile, also called the median, 50 percent of workers earned more than that amount and 50 percent earned less. At the 90th percentile, 10 percent of workers earned more than that amount, and 90 percent earned less. In May 2014, management occupations had the highest median annual wage, $97,230. Computer and mathematical, legal, and architecture and engineering occupations also had median annual wages above $75,000. The median wage in sales and related occupations was $25,360; the highest-paid sales workers, those at the 90th percentile, earned $75,280, close to the median for workers in legal and architecture and engineering occupations.

Annual wages, percentiles by major occupational group, May 2014
Occupational group 10th percentile 25th percentile 50th percentile wage (median) 75th percentile wage 90th percentile

Management

$46,440 $67,080 $97,230 $141,150 (1)

Computer and mathematical

41,130 56,920 79,420 106,330 134,500

Legal

35,840 49,790 76,860 133,430 (1)

Architecture and engineering

41,630 56,060 75,780 100,910 128,780

Business and financial operations

36,010 47,880 64,790 87,700 116,380

Healthcare practitioners and technical

31,570 43,920 61,710 87,840 133,600

Life, physical, and social science

32,170 43,490 61,450 88,040 117,810

Education, training, and library

21,040 30,940 46,660 65,220 88,190

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

20,200 29,450 45,180 68,680 99,000

Installation, maintenance, and repair

23,220 30,980 42,110 57,060 72,560

Construction and extraction

24,430 31,000 41,380 58,310 76,860

Community and social service

23,990 31,190 41,290 56,290 73,250

Protective service

19,090 24,510 37,180 57,270 80,360

Office and administrative support

19,480 24,650 32,520 43,410 56,460

Production

19,180 23,630 31,720 43,320 57,930

Transportation and material moving

18,120 21,330 29,530 41,530 57,440

Healthcare support

18,480 21,480 26,440 33,730 42,690

Sales and related

17,340 19,070 25,360 44,020 75,280

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

17,200 18,970 23,270 30,700 40,560

Personal care and service

16,840 18,250 21,260 27,580 38,440

Farming, fishing, and forestry

17,370 18,330 20,250 28,520 40,450

Food preparation and serving related

16,580 17,630 19,130 23,660 31,440
Footnotes:

(1) At least 10 percent of workers in this occupation have wages above $187,200 per year. The OES program can not estimate percentile wages above $187,200.

These data are from the Occupational Employment Statistics program. To learn more, see, "Occupational Employment and Wages — May 2014" (HTML) (PDF). 

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Occupational employment and wages in 2014 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2015/occupational-employment-wages-2014.htm (visited December 05, 2016).

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