May 23, 2011
Most of the largest occupations (as measured by the number of employees) were relatively low paying in May 2010. Of the 15 largest occupations only general and operations managers, registered nurses, and elementary school teachers, except special education had average wages above the U.S. all-occupations average of $44,410 annually.
General and operations managers earned, on average, $113,100 per year in May 2010; registered nurses had average annual earnings of $67,720; and elementary school teachers, except special education earned $54,330. In contrast, waiters and waitresses, cashiers, and combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food all had average annual earnings of less than $21,000. These three occupations not only had the lowest wages among the 15 largest occupations, they were also among the lowest-paying occupations overall.
Employment in the 15 largest occupations ranged from approximately 1.5 million (heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers and elementary school teachers, except special education) to 4.2 million (retail salespersons).
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Annual wages of largest occupations, May 2010 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2011/ted_20110523.htm (visited November 25, 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.