June 15, 2010
Most of the largest occupations were relatively low paying in May 2009.
Thirty of the 40 largest occupations had average wages below the U.S. mean of $20.90 per hour or $43,460 annually. These occupations included cashiers, with an hourly mean wage of $9.15, and combined food preparations and serving workers ($8.71); both also were among the lowest paying occupations overall.
Large occupations with above average wages included general and operations manager ($53.15); registered nurses ($31.99); and sales representatives, including wholesale and manufacturing, except technical and scientific products ($29.52).
In contrast, the small occupations included a more even mix of high- and low-paying occupations. Nineteen of these 42 occupations had wages above the U.S. average, including commercial divers ($27.91), agricultural engineers ($35.89), and industrial-organizational psychologists ($49.31). Seventeen occupations had below average wages, including segmental pavers ($13.81) and dredge operators ($18.43). The remaining six occupations had wages similar to the U.S. average.
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. The mean hourly wage rate for an occupation is the total wages that all workers in the occupation earn in an hour divided by the total employment of the occupation.