May 20, 2010
The occupational groups with the highest mean hourly wages in May 2009 included management occupations ($49.47), legal occupations ($46.07), and computer and mathematical science occupations ($36.68). Among the lowest paying occupational groups were food preparation and serving related occupations ($10.04); farming, fishing, and forestry occupations ($11.53); personal care and service occupations ($11.87); and building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations ($12.00).
While some occupational groups were highly concentrated in specific industry sectors, others were distributed more evenly across sectors. For example, nearly 89 percent of employment in education, training, and library occupations was found in the educational services sector, and about 88 percent of employment in healthcare support occupations was found in the health care and social assistance sector.
In contrast, although retail trade, finance and insurance, and health care and social assistance were among the largest employers of office and administrative support occupations, no single sector employed more than 12.3 percent of this group.
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, Highest and lowest mean hourly wages in May 2009 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2010/ted_20100520.htm (visited November 28, 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.