December 16, 2009
Two occupations—retail salespersons and cashiers, with employment of 4.4 million and 3.5 million respectively—made up about 6 percent of total U.S. employment in May 2008. Retail salespersons had median annual wages of $20,510; cashiers had wages of $17,660.
Nearly 19 percent of U.S. employment was found in 9 occupations with employment over 2 million each in May 2008. All except one of these occupations had median annual wages less than $32,390, the U.S. median annual wage. Registered nurses, with employment of 2.5 million and median annual wages of $62,450, was the one occupation with employment over 2 million with wages higher than the U.S. median annual wage.
These data are from Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program. To learn more about employment and earnings in various occupations, see the OES chart book, "Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2008," Bulletin 2732, December 2009. Median wages are the midpoint of a distribution of wages from lowest to highest; half of the employees in a given occupation earn less, and half earn more, than the median wage.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Employment and wages in large occupations, May 2008 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2009/ted_20091216.htm (visited November 29, 2015).
Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.