In Celebration of Labor Day

labor day

Every year, we celebrate a long labor day weekend, and mostly take for granted the remarkable economic engine that employs 125.89 million Americans.

Recently, Forbes magazine tweeted a number of Labor Day statistics that will probably surprise you.

Most Americans work in one of five different sectors:

14% in professional and business services

13.5% in production and manufacturing

13.4% in state or local government

13.2% in healthcare and social assistance

11.0% retail

Most of us work long hours:

Less than 40 hours – 8%

40 hours – 42%

41-49 hours – 11%

50-59 hours – 21%

60+ hours – 18%

Some of the lowest-paid jobs have the slimmest gender pay gap:

Office/administrative support (Men’s average salary: $30,301.  Women’s: $28,462)

Community/social services (Men: $40,502.  Women: $37,561)

Healthcare support (Men: $25,415.  Women: $22,079)

In 2015, 24% of employed people did some or all of their work at home.

What are the highest paying jobs in America?  The website lists the top 300 jobs in term of average salary, and the top of the list is dominated by medical professionals:

Anesthesiologists: $258,100

Surgeons:  $247,520

Oral surgeons: $233,900

Obstetricians and gynecologists: $222,400

Orthodontists: $221,390

Radiologists, Pathologists, Neurologists, Allergists and Immunologists, Urologists, Preventive Medicine Physicians, Ophthalmologists, Hospitalists, Sports Medicine Physicians, Physical Medicine and Rehab Physicians, Nuclear Medicine Physicians and Dermatologists all finish in a tie for sixth ($197,700), and you have to go all the way down to number 22 on the list, to Chief Executives, before you reach a non-medical professional on the list.

Lawyers come in way down at number 38 ($136,260), Physicists come in at number 50 ($118,500), Economists at number 77 ($109,230), Art Directors at 105 ($101,990), Veterinarians at 112 ($99,000), Automotive Engineers at 171 ($88,190) and video game designers at 190 ($87,310).

Finally, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 5.4 million companies that provide employment for American workers, with an annual payroll totaling $5.6 trillion, or roughly $48,997 per employee.  A surprising 8.9% of these employer firms (481,981) have been in business for fewer than 2 years, and only 3.1% of them (167,917) have existed for more than 16 years.  Most firms (78.5% of the total) employ fewer than ten workers, while 17,982 companies employ 500 or more Americans.

About the Author: Bob Veres has been a commentator, author and consultant in the financial services industry for more than 20 years.  Over his 20-year career in the financial services world, Mr. Veres has worked as editor of Financial Planning magazine; as a contributing editor to the Journal of Financial Planning; as a columnist and editor-at-large of Dow Jones Investment Advisor magazine; and as editor of Morningstar’s advisor web site:

Mr. Veres has been named one of the most influential people in the financial planning profession by Investment Advisor magazine and Financial Planning magazine, was granted the NAPFA Special Achievement Award by the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, and most recently the Heart of Financial Planning Distinguished Service Award from the Denver-based Financial Planning Association. 



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