What America Earns

Forbes has a piece on the 25 worst paying jobs in America. I pulled out any occupation that had over 500,000 people employed in it.

  • Food prep (kitchen) with cooking: 2.4 million employed, earning $15.9k
  • Fast food cooks: 600k employed, earning $15.9k
  • Dishwashers: 502k employed, earning $16.1k
  • Counter attendants working at cafeteria, food concession and coffee shop: 524k employed, earning $16.9k
  • Waiters/waitresses: 2.3 million employed, earning $17.1k
  • Cashiers: 3.4 million employed, earning $17.9k
  • Personal and home care aides: 578k employed, earning$18.1k
  • Food prep (without cooking): 871k employed, earning $18.4k
  • Maids and housekeeping cleaners: 900k employed, earning$18.7k
  • Child care workers: 572k employed, earning $18.8k

That’s stunning. Back of the envelope math basically says 12.7 million Americans (people you see and interact with every day) are earning roughly $18,000 a year. That’s roughly 5% of people living on $1,500 a month. The total count didn’t include the other 15 professions that had less than half a million people employed.

After digesting that, look at the article, as it describes the top 25 earning professions and you’ll see how drastic the wealth divide in our country really is.