Engineering, computer, legal jobs pay well; Nevada and Hawaii support bellhops

Staff writerApril 2, 2014 

If you are a retail salesperson or cashier, then go to the head of the class.

In a release this week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that salespeople and cashiers comprised 6 percent of total U.S. employment, higher than any other category.

Among other data:

• The 10 largest occupations accounted for 21 percent of total employment in May, 2013, when the survey was conducted.. In addition to salespersons and cashiers, the largest occupations included food preparation staff; general office clerks; registered nurses; waiters and waitresses; and customer service representatives.

• Most of the largest occupations were relatively low-paying. Of the Top 10, only registered nurses – with an annual mean wage of $68,910 – had an average wage above the U.S. all-jobs mean of $22.33 per hour or $46,440 annually. 

• Annual mean wages for the balance of the Top 10 ranged from $18,880 for combined food preparation and serving workers to $34,000 for secretaries and administrative assistants.

• Legal occupations and those in life, physical and social science were among the smallest occupational groups, each with less than 1 percent of the total.

• The highest paying occupational groups had positions in the management, legal, computer and mathematical, and architectural and engineering fields.

• All computer and mathematical occupations had average wages above the all-occupation mean, ranging from $50,450 for computer user support specialists to $109,260 for computer and information research scientists.

• Restaurants and other eating places had the lowest mean wage of any industry, at $21,720. Cashiers represented 66 percent of employment at gas stations. Retail salespersons in clothing stores and department stores earned mean wages of $21,890 and $21,950 respectively. 

• Nevada had eight times the concentration of bellhops – and Hawaii seven times the concentration of bellhops - compared to the nation as a whole.  

• Mount Vernon-Anacortes accounted for a concentration of rehabilitation counselors seven times greater than other metropolitan areas in the country.


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