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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.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Occupational employment in May 2009 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2010/ted_20100615.htm (visited March 31, 2023).