Bureau of Labor Statistics

Many retail trade workers paid less than $10 per hour

November 03, 1998

Ninety-one percent of employees in eating and drinking places were paid less than 10.00 per hour in 1996. This industry had the highest proportion of employees in that wage category. The eating and drinking places industry includes the sale of prepared foods and drinks for consumption on the premises, and lunch counters and refreshments stands selling food and drink for immediate consumption.

Note that workers, particularly in eating and drinking places, might report making less than $5.75 per hour because items such as tips are excluded from the "wage" definition.

Distribution of employment by industry and wage interval, 1996
[Table data—TXT]

The general merchandise stores industry, with almost 84 percent of its employment in wage ranges below $10.00 per hour, followed second to eating and drinking places. Unlike eating and drinking places, where a majority of workers earned less than $5.75 per hour, the largest percentage (44 percent) of employment per wage range for general merchandise stores fell between $5.75 and $8.49 an hour.

Three other industries in retail trade reported that 70 percent or more of employees earned less than $10.00 per hour: Apparel and accessory stores, food stores, and miscellaneous retail establishments. Outside of retail trade, about 81 percent of workers in apparel and other textile products and 80 percent of workers in hotels and other lodging places earned less than $10.00 per hour.

These data are a product of the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics program. For a summary on which industries provide the highest wages, see "Securities and commodities brokers lead industries earning high wages," The Editor's Desk. Additional information and detailed data may be obtained from Occupational Employment and Wages, Bulletin 2506, August 1998.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Many retail trade workers paid less than $10 per hour at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/1998/nov/wk1/art02.htm (visited December 01, 2021).


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