The most popular jobs in America

Published: Thursday, April 17 2014 9:33 p.m. MDT


A large portion of the occupations with the most employment in America are low-wage jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' most recent report of "Occupational employment and wages."

The report, which was released on April 1 of this year, says that the 10 most employed jobs in the country accounted for over 20 percent of total employment in May 2013.

"Most of the largest occupations were relatively low paying," the report's authors pointed out.

Wages have been in the news a lot lately. Both the prospect of raising the minimum wage and the much-debated gender wage gap have dominated much of the economic talk of late, and the BLS study has stirred some to believe the country is in the middle of a wage crisis.

According to a report by USA Today from last August, Walmart currently holds the title as the largest single employer in America, with a total of 2.2 million employees and counting. According to IBISWorld, the average worker at Walmart makes $8.81 per hour.

So what are the largest industries in America — at least as far as employment is concerned — and how much does the average worker in these industries make?

We've given you the countdown of all America's major industries accord to the BLS.

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
Utah, UT

I think using the words "most popular" jobs isn't a real accurate description here. I think the words you're looking for are "most available" jobs or "jobs most applicable to the average American's skill-set/experience/education."

That would better explain why office jobs are listed as #1 most popular.

Scio, OR

The regional job market also plays an important factor in how much a job or career makes. The Great Basin is infamous for lower wages, but people stay for the quality of life environment.

Sandy, UT

The one thing left out is government occupatuons. Most of these occupations are productive, while government occupations are consumptive.

Taylorsville, 00

It would help if we encouraged an international labor environment that prohibited slave-labor. Then work couldn't be outsourced to slavery and that kind of suffering would not be increased.

As for the comment on 'government occupations', think of them like an IT department in a business. They may not directly generate a profit, but check your business's ability and earnings with the work IT / government does, and without. For example, try operating a business in an area with no law enforcement and see how much theft and extortion cost vs paying taxes for a police force.

A Quaker
Brooklyn, NY

Your listings contain a big error. You don't distinguish between hourly workers and salaried employees (a.k.a. "Exempt" employees). You use the same constant number for hours worked.

Many white-collar jobs are salaried, meaning that however many hours they have to work in a week, they're not entitled to overtime pay. You can't just divide their annual salary by 2100 and call that their hourly wage, especially when some of these jobs regularly involve between 3000 and 4000 hours per year. Under many state laws, hours over 40 per week require time-and-a-half pay for hourly workers, and double-time over 60 hours.

Someone regularly working 80 hours per week, like in some IT departments on Wall St., or new accountants at big CPA firms, you'd need to divide their annual salary by around 6000 to calculate an equivalent base hourly wage, to account for the overtime multiple that they don't get paid. So, that "$45/hr" looks more like $15 in real life (what's left of real life after work, that is).

Cedar Hills, UT

I'm sure they are all government jobs

Midwest Mom
Soldiers Grove, WI

Excuse me, but "average" teachers make an annual salary of $51,500? I'm sure that Utah is far below that mark and here in Wisconsin, my teacher-husband makes $52K with a masters degree and 30 years teaching experience. He's the highest paid teacher at our school. Starting pay is in the low $30Ks and it's many steps to get beyond that.

More inaccuracies about teachers from the DN.

West Point , UT

Midwest Mom:
That area of the study includes principles, superintendents, private school personnel, university professors, etc. it's not just teachers. Principles make far more than teachers, and professors also make more especially in the high alum donation areas like business, law, and medicine.

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