Skip to comments.9 Of The Top 10 Occupations In America Pay An Average Wage Of Less Than $35,000 A Year
Posted on 04/09/2014 8:37:27 AM PDT by xzins
According to stunning new numbers just released by the federal government, nine of the top ten most commonly held jobs in the United States pay an average wage of less than $35,000 a year. When you break that down, that means that most of these workers are making less than $3,000 a month before taxes. And once you consider how we are being taxed into oblivion, things become even more frightening. Can you pay a mortgage and support a family on just a couple grand a month? Of course not. In the old days, a single income would enable a family to live a very comfortable middle class lifestyle in most cases. But now those days are long gone. In 2014, both parents are expected to work, and in many cases both of them have to get multiple jobs just in order to break even at the end of the month. The decline in the quality of our jobs is a huge reason for the implosion of the middle class in this country. You can't have a middle class without middle class jobs, and we have witnessed a multi-decade decline in middle class jobs in the United States. As long as this trend continues, the middle class is going to continue to shrink.
The following is a list of the most commonly held jobs in America according to the federal government. As you can see, 9 of the top 10 most commonly held occupations pay an average wage of less than $35,000 a year...
1.Retail salespersons, 4.48 million workers earning $25,370 2.Cashiers 3.34 million workers earning $20,420 3.Food prep and serving staff, 3.02 million workers earning $18,880 4.General office clerk, 2.83 million working earning $29,990 5.Registered nurses, 2.66 million workers earning $68,910 6.Waiters and waitresses, 2.40 million workers earning $20,880 7.Customer service representatives, 2.39 million workers earning $33,370 8.Laborers, and freight and material movers, 2.28 million workers earning $26,690 9.Secretaries and admins (not legal or medical), 2.16 million workers earning $34,000 10.Janitors and cleaners (not maids), 2.10 million workers earning, $25,140 Overall, an astounding 59 percent of all American workers bring home less than $35,000 a year in wages.
So if you are going to make more than $35,000 this year, you are solidly in the upper half.
But that doesn't mean that you will always be there.
More Americans are falling out of the middle class with each passing day.
Just consider the case of a 47-year-old woman named Kristina Feldotte. Together with her husband, they used to make about $80,000 a year. But since she lost her job three years ago, their combined income has fallen to about $36,000 a year...
Three years ago, Kristina Feldotte, 47, and her husband earned a combined $80,000. She considered herself solidly middle class. The couple and their four children regularly vacationed at a lake near their home in Saginaw, Michigan.
But in August 2012, Feldotte was laid off from her job as a special education teacher. She's since managed to find only part-time teaching work. Though her husband still works as a truck salesman, their income has sunk by more than half to $36,000.
"Now we're on the upper end of lower class," Feldotte said. There is a common assumption out there that if you "have a job" that you must be doing "okay".
But that is not even close to the truth.
The reality of the matter is that you can even have two or three jobs and still be living in poverty. In fact, you can even be working for the government or the military and still need food stamps...
Since the start of the Recession, the dollar amount of food stamps used at military commissaries, special stores that can be used by active-duty, retired, and some veterans of the armed forces has quadrupled, hitting $103 million last year. Food banks around the country have also reported a rise in the number of military families they serve, numbers that swelled during the Recession and havent, or have barely, abated. There are so many people that are really hurting out there.
Today, someone wrote to me about one of my recent articles about food price increases and told me about how produce prices were going through the roof in that particular area. This individual wondered how ordinary families were going to be able to survive in this environment.
That is a very good question.
I don't know how they are going to survive.
In some cases, the suffering that is going on behind closed doors is far greater than any of us would ever imagine.
And often, it is children that suffer the most...
A Texas couple kept their bruised, malnourished 5-year-old son in a diaper and locked in a closet of their Spring home, police said in a horrifying case of abuse.
The tiny, blond-haired boy was severely underweight, his shoulder blades, ribs and vertebrae showing through his skin, when officers found him late last week. You can see some photos of that poor little boy right here.
I hope that those abusive parents are put away for a very long time.
Sadly, there are lots of kids that are really suffering right now. There are more than a million homeless schoolchildren in America, and there are countless numbers that will go to bed hungry tonight.
But if you live in wealthy enclaves on the east or west coasts, all of this may sound truly bizarre to you. Where you live, you may look around and not see any poverty at all. That is because America has become increasingly segregated by wealth. Some are even calling this the "skyboxification of America"...
The richest Americansthe much-talked about 1 percentare a cloistered class. As the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz scathingly put it, they have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesnt seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live. The Harvard political philosopher Michael Sandel has similarly lamented the skyboxification of American life, in which people of affluence and people of modest means lead increasingly separate lives.
The substantial and growing gap between the rich and everyone else is increasingly inscribed on our geography. There have always been affluent neighborhoods, gated enclaves, and fabled bastions of wealth like Greenwich, Connecticut; Grosse Pointe, Michigan; Potomac, Maryland; and Beverly Hills, California. But Americas bankers, lawyers, and doctors didnt always live so far apart from teachers, accountants, and small business owners, who themselves werent always so segregated from the poorest, most struggling Americans. Nobody should talk about an "economic recovery" until the middle class starts growing again.
Even as the stock market has soared to unprecedented heights over the past year, the decline of middle class America has continued unabated.
And most Americans know deep inside that something is deeply broken. For example, a recent CNBC All-America Economic Survey found that over 80 percent of all Americans consider the economy to be "fair" or "poor".
Yes, for the moment things are going quite well for the top 10 percent of the nation, but that won't last long either. None of the problems that caused the last great financial crisis have been fixed. In fact, they have gotten even worse. We are steamrolling toward another great financial crisis and our leaders are absolutely clueless.
When the next crisis strikes, the economic suffering in this nation is going to get even worse.
As bad as things are now, they are not even worth comparing to what is coming.
So I hope that you are getting prepared. Time is running out.
We say Rino & Gop-e, but it’s really Corporatist Republicans versus Middle Class Republicans
Agreed. There are two plantation parties. The planters dine, drink and socialize with one another on the veranda.
There is really only one party. They go to the same schools, belong to the same clubs, and live in the same places. Their worldviews are much more alike than not.
And both plantation parties are tools of the corporatists.
The GOP-E is to keep the middle class in check.
The dems are to use the lower class to bring about a corporatist tyranny
The federal government, the Federal Reserve, and Big Business have done a great job of suppressing wages.
We should be ashamed of ourselves.
Very weird article. It was going on about common jobs and the salaries associated it them and then it hijacked into a child abuse story in Texas.
I wonder if you cut/pasted a link to a separate news story?
Yeah, and if we no longer have good reason for people to bother to increase their skills above these entry level positions we will really be in trouble.
End up, somehow, with no skills but kids to feed? Then both parents could work these $35K jobs and a half for a bit, bringing in a combined greater than $100K per year.
End up a single parent with no other financial support? Then bunking up with another single parent could lead to a blended family with roughly the same economics.
it is possibly a bad copy/paste. won’t be the first time... ;=)
Zatso? Just wait. Not going to be much in the way of produce from the San Joaquin valley this year, the farmers aren't being allowed water to grow crops or keep the almond groves alive. Delta smelt are far more important...
Here in DFW, it’s deceptive. It appears that we are surrounded by wealth, with expensive homes and “lofts” popping up everywhere, and highways glutted with nice cars. In Southlake/Colleyville one ponders “What do those people DO to make all that money?”
Maybe it’s all built on a house of credit-sand?
Still, it makes you think you’re “poor” compared, contra this article that has you “rich” if you make just over $35k!
Retail salespersons, 4.48 million workers earning $25,370
Cashiers 3.34 million workers earning $20,420
Food prep and serving staff, 3.02 million workers earning $18,880
General office clerk, 2.83 million working earning $29,990
Waiters and waitresses, 2.40 million workers earning $20,880
Customer service representatives, 2.39 million workers earning $33,370
Laborers, and freight and material movers, 2.28 million workers earning $26,690
Secretaries and admins (not legal or medical), 2.16 million workers earning $34,000
Janitors and cleaners (not maids), 2.10 million workers earning, $25,140
The exception? Registered nurses, 2.66 million workers earning $68,910
IOW, there are more low skill workers than skilled workers, and low skilled workers do not make much. In what sense is that a change to how the world operates?
There is only one party in America, and it has two wings, just like a buzzard...but the world will always have more workers at the bottom than at the top.
However, manufacturing jobs are also jobs that “monkeys can do”, but the middle class, post WWII, was built on those jobs. They enabled one bread winner to work, the other adult to raise the kids, the family to have a house, a car, food, and clothing....with a little bit of recreation.
35,000 a year won’t do all that.
In general your jobs with the most people are also your jobs with the lowest necessary skill level. Which makes them entry level jobs, which makes them low paying, and if you want to make more money get more skills and move up or move out.
I worked as a janitor in a hospital to help pay for college. I had to clean toilets after really ill people used them. I figured that if I worked hard and sacrificed and received an education that it would pay off in the long run. It has.
All jobs teach you something. My janitor job taught me that I didn’t want to clean toilets for the rest of my life. Everyone has the opportunity to improve their life. You don’t like your $35,000 a year job? Then figure out how to get a $70,000 a year job.
Nobody felt sorry for me when I was scrubbing filthy toilets. I don’t feel sorry for anyone with a $35,000 a year job.
Wages have been stagnate for over 15 years...Hours slashed, benefits gone.....
Yet in that time, everything has nearly doubled in price...
Most of those in the working world are screwed.
Watch the economy in the future...It’ll nose dive...
Bet the rent...
We aren’t going to see a return to a one income family model. Too much divorce and too many unmarried with kids. And many of those lower skill repetitive jobs can be filled by a robot that never goes on strike.
And in the 60s, when I was growing up, the average home was around 1200 sq ft and my Dad, a military officer, owned one car.
Right....The American middle class is headed into an abyss...
but we drive cars with lots of miles....we are careful in spending....we don't go on fancy vacations although we do vacation but on our terms, which is cost saving....
I look at the big Ram trucks, the new houses, the shoppers at Nordstrom, and the many, many people eating out on a daily basis, and yes, I feel poor...
That supplies the bread. What about the Circuses?
Most of those are in debt up to the rafters....It eventually all comes crashing down....
The housewives would keep the car and pick hubby up from work 1-5 days a week. Or they would do their shopping car pooling with a neighbor.
My mon worked since she was 8, during the expression. Helping clean the bedding and towels at my gramma boarding house and throwing a paper route. At age 12 she was a waitress. Worked until age 65 and said she retired too early.
She never had the housewife routine.
High prices and taxation makes for 2 economic classes; rich and poor. No middle class. We need fewer lawyers and political scientists, and more economists in Washington.
Just try that in today's America...
NFL, Twitter, Kardashians, TV, movies, etc.
I see this in the Northeast too. From Boston on down to D.C., the suburbs are booming with $400K and higher homes going up everywhere. Somebody's paying for those. Also, just try getting a table at a restaurant on a Friday or Saturday night without at least an hour wait. Even the casual eating joints like Longhorns, Yard House, Olive Garden, etc., are jammed.
So all this study did was lump a bunch of low-paying jobs, that were always low-paying jobs, into categories so that they could say that all the fastest growing jobs were low-paying jobs. You could have done this in 1990, or 1979.
I had a short day at work yesterday and the boss told me to be back this morning. So I got up at the usual 4 am and make it to work by 5. Shower, coffee, cigarette. The 30 minute drive. When I get there he tells me there isn’t anything. Great. Couldn’t he have at least called before I wasted the gas? But he doesn’t care.
4 years ago we were doing ok....64k... now it is just over half. My wife is now unemployed.
It isn’t a brag but it is a point of pride that I am a highly skilled tradesman (cabinetry). My current employer wants (needs) that skill but doesn’t want to pay for it. They cancelled our insurance Jan. 1. At the Christmas party they announced there wouldn’t be any raises. No more paid leave (5). No more sick days (2). And despite the fact the business made 9% profit we needed to work harder.
Weird as it sounds my wife told me last night that she had talked to a couple of our mutual friends wives to see if they wanted to just get out for a bit (people we used to go out to dinner with, etc.) who told her they weren’t into it because their lives were a mess.
To quote my wife she told me to stop stressing so much because “we aren’t the only ones trying to swim upstream harder and faster only to go further down the river”.
I guess that makes me feel better, right?
What I find amusing and ironic when I read articles griping about falling wages and the “1 percent” is that the government they petition to “fix things” keeps taking action that makes it so only the “1 percent” have any chance of getting anywhere in this life.
Name any “easy money scheme” being run by big brother today and you’ll find it’s bringing down the real value of wages and driving up the cost of living for the very people it’s supposed to help...and those very people call for even more. I honestly wonder if such people really are that dumb or if they’re just that devoted to the belief that reality will cease to exist if they don’t acknowledge it (which isn’t much different from being a complete dumb@$$).
In those days, we didn’t have a dollar worth two cents and the government constantly spending money it didn’t have. People also had a better work ethic and an understanding that one wasn’t entitled to a life of luxury with no action on their part.
In fact, weren’t we generally good in regards to debt and deficits until LBJ got into office?
Manufacturing got replaced by automation. Technology does that to people on the bottom, the easier you are to replace with people the easier you are to replace with not people.
For the record, twenty to thirty grand would be riches for a guy like me (aiming to become an EMT and/or Firefighter, both of which pay about that much), but then again, I have no interest in having kids and am generally paid up on everything (own the house and the car except for paying the government protection racket bill every year), so perhaps it would be hard for a family.
Then again, there once was a time where families were formed AFTER all involved could afford it, not formed on the belief that someone else would pay for it.
Who said anything about the employers paying for anything? All of my skill acquisition that moved me from entry level job land to skilled labor land I did on my time with my money.
They hired a button pusher not an analyst. They should have (and maybe did) have an analyst around too, but analysts costs more than button pushers and you don’t want them pushing buttons any GED holder could push.
SERIESLY? Welcome to planet Earth. hmmmm...I see that your visa has expired...
Is there such a thing as an ethically fair wage for the time and effort you require from a regular laborer?
Pure economics says that the job is worth what anyone will take.
Is there a moral, ethical, and or religious/biblical take on that that modifies that understanding?
It’s not just economics that says the job is worth what people are willing to get paid for it, that’s the moral position too. If I’m willing to do that job for that money then I am voluntarily entering into the agreement and there’s nothing wrong with you “only” paying me that much.
Generally true, but not always true that you are willingly entering into that agreement.
Any kind of duress affecting you means that you wouldn’t normally enter such an agreement.
Therefore, it isn’t moral. If the employer knows of the duress, then the employer is guilty of taking advantage of another person’s desperate circumstance.
Sounds like lowest bidder problems. The company isn’t charging enough for the work so it wouldn’t be profitable to hire the people who should be doing the work.
Life is duress, we all get stuck in things we don’t want to do. But that doesn’t change the fact that a person CAN get other work, maybe worse work, maybe they have to move, maybe cheaper, but it’s out there. Your relationship with your employer IS voluntary, you said yes to that wage. Nothing immoral about it. Especially in the 21st century, we don’t have indentured servitude anymore.
Pay them their wages each day before sunset, because they are poor and are counting on it. Otherwise they may cry to the Lord against you, and you will be guilty of sin.
1 Samuel 12:3
Here I stand. Testify against me in the presence of the Lord and his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I accepted a bribe to make me shut my eyes? If I have done any of these things, I will make it right.
Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem
Will be pleasant to the Lord,
As in the days of old,
As in former years.
5 And I will come near you for judgment;
I will be a swift witness
Against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans,
And against those who turn away an alien
Because they do not fear Me,
Says the Lord of hosts.
true, by definition of "median", at any income level ... there will always be half above and half below the median