May 18, 2010
In May 2009, the 10 occupations with the highest employment levels represented more than 20 percent of total employment, and the number of workers in these occupations ranged from 1.9 million workers to 4.2 million workers.
Most of these occupations were relatively low paying: 9 of the 10 largest occupations had median wages between $8.28 per hour and $14.56 per hour. Median wages for all occupations in the United States were $15.95 per hour in May 2009. The one exception among the 10 largest occupations was registered nurses, whose median wages were $30.65 per hour. Employment among registered nurses was 2.6 million in May 2009.
Occupations with the lowest employment in May 2009 included watch repairers, astronomers, and radio operators.
These data are from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program. To learn more, see, "Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2009" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL-10-0646. Median wages are the midpoint of a distribution of wages from lowest to highest; half of the employees in a given occupation earn less, and half earn more, than the median wage.