May 22, 2002
Average hourly earnings vary considerably within as well as among occupational groups. The occupations in the top 20 percent of the earnings array are most often in the professional and executive groups. In contrast, more than one-third of the jobs on the lowest tenth of the ladder are in the service group.
Hourly earnings also varied the most in the professional and service groups. The huge spread for professional jobs reflects the disparate jobs within the group—pilots and doctors on the high side and health record technologists and substitute teachers at the low end. Service occupations ranged from public transportation attendants down to waiters and waitresses.
The distribution of earnings in both the professional/technical and service occupational groups was affected significantly by outliers. When airplane pilots and navigators are excluded from the professional group, the earnings spread drops to 447 percent from 757 percent. Likewise, excluding waters and waitresses from the service group produces a 389-percent spread instead of 655 percent.
These data are from the National Compensation Survey. For more information, turn to "Rankings of full-time occupations by earnings, 2000," Monthly Labor Review, March 2002.