Paltry Wages at Most Common U.S. Jobs

    SILVER SPRING, MD- DEC 01: There are full-time and part-time openings at the Thai Kitchen restaurant in Silver Spring that pay the minimum wage. The openings represent the toughest part of the slow economic recovery occurring in the U.S. in that many of the new jobs are for low pay. Photo is part of the Recession Road project being produced only with a Smart Phone. (Photo by Michael Williamson/The Washington Post)

    Michael S. Williamson

    More fuel for the income inequality debate: employees at America’s most common jobs are scraping by on less than $30,000 a year, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 4.3 million employees in retail sales—the most common job in the U.S.—were paid only $25,310 on average in 2012. Food prep workers, the third most common job, earned a paltry $18,720—a far cry from the nation’s average annual income of $47,950. The latest numbers reflect the decline of the middle class (median household income has dropped more than $4,000 since 2000). More than half of the jobs created during the economic recovery have been low-wage positions, according to the National Employment Law Project.

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