Last month we glanced at industries that generate the most income per worker. This month we want to look at which industries pay their workers the most, which is a bit different.
To do this we’ll look at 2010 total earnings per worker by 2-digit NAICS sectors. The data is based on two things:
- Wages, salaries, and proprietor earnings – the average earnings for the employee or what the owner of a company pays his or her self.
- Supplements – a measure of pensions, insurance plans, profit-sharing plans, retirement plans, compensation plans, and supplemental unemployment benefit plans. It also covers employer contributions for government social insurance. This number is derived from the BEA State and Local Personal Income reports.
Note: Analyst now breaks out supplements and wage information by industry all the way down to 6-digit NAICS.
Also, keep in mind industry earnings per worker (EPW) are not a good measure of “average salary.” To arrive at the EPW figure, EMSI divides average annual total earnings by the annual average of jobs in the industry (a more exact term would thus be “earnings per job,” not “earnings per worker”). However, industry EPW figures are valuable because they provide a broad indicator of the overall quality of jobs in each industry.
With that said, below are some interesting results.
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1. Utilities – $114K per worker and big on supplements
The industry with the highest earnings per worker is utilities. Much of this has to do with the fact that over $30K of their total earnings comes as a result of supplements. Utilities is by far the most-unionized private-sector industry, with over 30% of workers represented by unions in 2010. The runner-up is telecom at 17%. (See here for a complete breakdown). This goes along in explaining these wages/benefit numbers, as does the fact that the utilities sector has an experienced, aging workforce that’s been racking up decades of pay raises.
Also note, total employment in the utility sector is low compared to others. About 600,000 people work in the utility sector at 17,000 establishments nationwide. Employment in this sector has declined by about 5,000 jobs from 2009-11.
2. Management of Companies and Enterprises – $111K and also big on supplements
Second on the list is management of companies and enterprises. At over $20K it also has a pretty high level of supplements per worker, which makes sense seeing that it’s common for managers to take non-wage/salary compensation. Employment in this sector has remained flat from 2009-11. Also note, the wages and salaries in this sector are actually quite a bit higher on average than utilities.
3. Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction – $99K
The mining industries have the highest wages/salaries ($92K) of these three industries, yet the average level of supplements per worker ($7K) is quite low in comparison to the first two. This sector actually grew by 144,193 workers from 2009-11 (11%) — the most for any industry sector. This growth can perhaps be explained by the growing use of massive domestic shale gas deposits.
4. The Upper Middle – $70Ks
The upper middle industries for worker pay are finance and insurance, information, professional/scientific/technical services, and wholesale trade. These industry sectors pay over $60K per year in basic wages and over $70K once you factor in supplements. At $13K, the information industry has the highest amount of supplements; professional and tech industries are the lowest at nearly $8K.
Professional and tech services grow by 310,000 jobs from 09-11 (3%) and finance/insurance grew by 143K (2%). Information declined by 90,000 jobs over the same time period, while wholesale trade remained flat.
5. The Middle – $50s and $60s
The middle tier includes manufacturing, government, construction, transportation and warehousing, and health care industries. Basic wages start at $42K (health care) and move up to $55K (manufacturing). At $18K, government has the highest level of supplements, which brings the annual average EPW to $65K. Manufacturing also has a relatively high level of supplements at nearly $16K, making the average nationwide EPW $71K. Construction has the lowest level of supplements at less than $7K. Not surprisingly the health care industry grew by a whopping 1,022,000 jobs from 2009-11 and manufacturing and construction declined by almost the same amount.
6. Lowest EPW
The earnings per worker for the remaining industries all fall below an average of $50K including supplements. Keep in mind — there still good wages and salaries to be had in these sectors. It’s just that these sectors tend to be lower in terms of pay. These industries are (in order of average EPW) as follows: educational services ($40K), administrative/support/waste management (32K), retail trade ($30K), ag/forestry ($28K), other services ($28K), real estate (28K), arts/entertainment/recreation ($26K), accommodation/food services ($20K).
In terms of employment, these sectors have remained fairly stable from ’09-11, with only the agricultural sector taking a hit (50K workers). Educational services have the highest amount of supplements.
Note: The following table is sorted by “2010 Total EPW.”
|Description||2009 Jobs||2011 Jobs||Change||% Change||2010 Wages, Salaries, & Proprietor Earnings||2010 Supplements||2010 Total EPW||2010 Establishments|
|Management of Companies and Enterprises||1,966,479||1,966,522||43||0%||$91,061||$20,329||$111,390||54,752|
|Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction||1,360,586||1,504,779||144,193||11%||$92,233||$7,263||$99,496||31,888|
|Finance and Insurance||9,428,332||9,571,984||143,652||2%||$69,502||$10,224||$79,726||482,972|
|Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services||11,832,801||12,142,886||310,085||3%||$66,256||$7,854||$74,110||1,033,744|
|Transportation and Warehousing||6,149,800||6,157,599||7,799||0%||$44,034||$9,960||$53,994||253,044|
|Health Care and Social Assistance||18,660,866||19,682,706||1,021,840||5%||$42,559||$7,632||$50,191||805,513|
|Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services||9,858,334||10,441,285||582,951||6%||$28,117||$4,122||$32,239||488,244|
|Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting||3,470,935||3,418,402||(52,533)||(2%)||$26,871||$2,008||$28,879||96,429|
|Other Services (except Public Administration)||8,879,288||9,078,389||199,101||2%||$26,325||$2,342||$28,667||1,261,959|
|Real Estate and Rental and Leasing||7,527,767||7,684,192||156,425||2%||$26,252||$1,768||$28,020||358,711|
|Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation||3,790,316||3,908,999||118,683||3%||$24,280||$2,476||$26,756||127,628|
|Accommodation and Food Services||11,872,122||12,152,988||280,866||2%||$17,849||$2,528||$20,377||630,710|
Illustration by Mark Beauchamp