Just one word, and it’s not “plastics.”
Actually, it’s two words: “petroleum engineer.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics this week offered a look at occupations and wages in the U.S. as recorded last May.
Among the data:
• The occupations with the largest employment were retail salespersons and cashiers, which, when combined, accounted for 6 percent of all jobs held with 4.6 million and 3.4 million workers respectively.
• Of the 10 largest occupations, only registered nurses, with an annual mean wage of $69,700, had earnings above the all-occupations mean of $47,230.
• The 10 largest occupations accounted for 21 percent of overall employment, and included, along with those mentioned above, various positions for food workers, office workers and customer service representatives.
• Most of the largest occupations were relatively low-paid. Among the Top 10, and but for registered nurses, wages ranged from $19,110 for food workers to $34,500 for secretaries and administrative assistants.
• Among the lowest paying jobs were fast food cooks ($19,030), shampooers ($19,480) and dishwashers ($19,540).
• 93 of 100 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) jobs had mean wages “significantly above” the all-occupations average. The highest-paying STEM occupations included petroleum engineers ($147,520), physicists ($117,300) and STEM-related management positions. The lowest paying STEM jobs included agricultural and food science technicians ($37,330) and forest and conservation technicians ($37,990).
• The largest occupational grouping was “office and administrative support,” which comprised approximately 16 percent of total U.S. employment. This category was followed by sales positions and food preparations and service.
• The smallest occupational groupings included farming, fishing, forestry and legal occupations.
• The highest paying occupational categories were related to management, legal, computer and mathematical jobs.
• The lowest paying categories included food preparation and service, personal care, farming, fishing and forestry.
• Overall, the private sector accounted for some 84 percent of all employment.
• Five of the 10 largest occupations in the public sector were related to education and included elementary school teachers (1.2 million workers), teacher assistants (933,500), secondary school teachers (845,480).
• The largest occupations in state government were correctional officers and jailers, general office clerks, secretaries and administrative assistants.
• Industries with the highest all-occupations mean wages included software publishers, computer and computer-peripheral manufacturing and several positions within the financial services industry.
• Personal financial advisers earned an annual mean wage of $119,180 while financial analysts earned $110,510. The restaurant industry offered the lowest overall average wage, with four of five jobs in the category paying mean wages below $25,000.
• Wages for certain specific positions differed depending on the industry. Computer systems analysts earned $58,940 in motor vehicle body and trailer manufacturing, while the same position in mining brought $118,770.