The Most Common Jobs In The United States

January 29, 2015 0 Comments

Chock up another pillar of what President Obama calls ‘Middle-Class Economics.’ Whereas people would consider middle-class (or median income) as a middle ground between low and high income earners, we find that majority of the employment in this country falls just short of that middle ground. Looking at consumer confidence reaching new highs (despite the fact that wages and sales have fallen) would have anyone believe that happy days are here again. But exactly how far have we come since the aftermath of the last financial crisis? Forbes was kind enough to remind everyone what are the bulk of the jobs created since then.

Along with the latest Occupational Employment Statistics (2013) from the BLS, we can get a pretty good grasp of what exactly we have to show for ‘Middle-Class Economics.’
OES are released a year apart from the reference year. The latest statistics we have is 2013, which was released in April 2014. Nonetheless, it paints a pretty decent picture of the bulk of the job creation the economy has experienced within the last couple of years.

The latest statistics shows that the largest jobs consist of ‘retail salespersons.’ This has anything to do with the sale of any merchandise to consumers. It also doesn’t include cashiers, which are the second largest jobs in the economy. Considering both of these jobs are within the same industry, that is 8 million jobs between these occupations. With currently 15.5 million people employed in Retail Trade, that is a pretty large number. That means more than half of people who work in retail earn low wages, which isn’t surprising. It’s retail, after all.

The third on the list is food serving occupations, which includes fast food positions. This jobs are often notorious for low wages in the United States, paying a average hourly wage of $9.08 according to the latest statistics. Combined that with Waiters and Waitresses, part of the Leisure & Hospitality industry, that involves 5.5 million jobs.

I’m sure people will just say that it wouldn’t be that much of a problem if these jobs paid significantly above the minimum wage. The problem isn’t just the amount these jobs pay, but the fact that the economy has a ton of people employed at these jobs that produce very little value to the overall economy.

On the same list, we have Consumer Service Representatives, Janitors, and a few others. Among them, we have Registered Nurses, which is one of the largest professions that is highly paid.

In this, we can probably break down the employment gains of these professions in three separate industries: Retail Trade, Leisure/Hospitality, Transportation/Warehousing, and Education/Health Services.

This also doesn’t account for Temporary Services, which is another occupation (or subset of occupations) that the economy could be without.

So, if you add this up, since the recession ended, the economy added about 8.4 million jobs and 3.2 jobs came from three sectors alone. This means that nearly 40% of the jobs in the economy are very common and very low wage.

During the State of the Union  we heard that ‘the verdict is clear: Middle-Class Economics works.’ Well, I can’t wait to see more…


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