Last week the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Editor’s Desk highlighted two compelling employment charts, both of which point to just how many low-wage/low-skill jobs there are in the US. The top 10 occupations by total employment account for 20.7% of all jobs, and only one (registered nurses) requires on average a postsecondary degree.
Per the BLS’ Occupational Employment Statistics program, office and administrative support occupations — again, mostly lower-wage jobs — made up nearly 17% of total US employment as of May last year. We dug into EMSI’s 2011.4 Covered Employment data to look for more trends along this line. Here’s what we found:
- The top three occupation groups — office and administrative support; sales and related; and food preparation and serving related — accounted for 35% of all jobs and 37% of all annual openings as of 2011. The median hourly wages for each group are well below the national average of $19.93 per hour, with food prep workers at $9.46 and office workers at $15.17.
- The highest-paid occupation group, management occupations ($44.63), make up just under 5% of all US jobs.
- Production occupations added the most jobs from 2010-2011 (+168,517, 2%), and pay median hourly wages of $15.22. Production workers make up almost 7% of the American workforce.
What’s also striking is the shift to service sector jobs from manufacturing. NPR’s Planet Money showed this using BLS data from 1970 (when nearly 24% of all jobs were in manufacturing) to 2012 (9% in manufacturing). Here its graph for 2012:
For an even more historical comparison, albeit from a different data source, see the Census Bureau’s interesting look at how America has changed from 1940 to 2010.