Mapping All the Jobs Created in the Recovery by Hourly Wage

On Friday, the BLS updated hourly wages and jobs information. Let's backtrack to the start of the recovery for details.

Hourly Wages by Job Classification

Year-over-year, hourly wages are up 2.6%. That is barely keeping up with inflation, assuming you believe BLS consumer price statistics.

Regardless, it certainly makes a huge difference where you work. Those in leisure and hospitality make an average of $15.83 per hour. Those working in utilities make an average of $40.34 per hour.

Five Lowest Paying Job Classifications

Note: Fred did not have a download for "other services" so I skipped it.

Five Highest Paying Job Classifications

Clearly the only standout here is professional and business services, the 5th best paying classification.

Middle Three Paying Job Classifications

Jobs in 2001 vs 2010 vs 2018

Since 2001, the big three job gainers are education and health care, professional services, and leisure and hospitality.

Education and health care, the top gainer, is a mixture of high paying professional nursing jobs and low paying home care or other caregiver jobs.

Many job classifications are stagnant or worse.

Jobs Gained in the Recovery

There are many ways to spin this data, but none of them look particularly promising. Job growth in the top four paying classifications has been very weak.

The one bright spot is job growth in the professional and business service category, a well paying classification. How long those gains can last is unknown.

Jobs gains in the two lowest paying classifications exceed gains in professional services.

Strong Jobs Recovery?

The much ballyhooed jobs recovery is a bit suspect.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock


Not long ago, I worked with a guy in his 30s who was doing one of the school-tech company partnerships, as part of his plan to switch careers. One day in the office he read outloud from an article about how UCLA at Sacramento replaced its tech workers with H-1B workers. Then, he asked, "what am I doing here?" A lady in the office (who was from India) said something in a chipper voice like "well, its a globalized world. You just have to compete".
Currently, I work in an office where at least half the workers under 40 years of age are from India, maybe 2/3rds. However, I hasten to add that all the Indian workers are good people and a lot of fun to work with. But I do think that the reason that we have so many here is just to keep the price of labor from rising much. Also, I think that all the news articles are mainly labor-shortage propaganda. To the extent, there are labor shortages, it may be that other careers just look better to people, given the relentless push for globalizing the labor force. If you want to know more about this subject, Norm Matloff is a good source, because he has been studying it for more than 20 years and has even given Congressional testimony.


I read an article about an interesting new "college" concept vs. 4 year colleges. This "new college" basically has a one year intensive training program for kids out of high school to learn the latest skills to code. And the school partners with local tech companies where the students intern and learn exactly what they need to learn. Then get hired when they finish. The school has no up front cost. But they take a % of the students first 2-3 yrs on the job. To me that makes a lot more sense then spending 4 yrs getting a liberal arts degree and coming out with $100k in student loan debt and your only qualified to work at SBUX.


Longtime IT guy here. In the early H1B days the aim was absolutely to depress American wages. Now, after a few decades, it's more of a chicken and egg question.

I have often questioned my decision to pursue this line of work in college and beyond. It's not that IT leads to a terrible life, but it leads to a far more difficult one than some of the other people I've worked around. Project managers, HR people, even lower level executives seem to have easy lives without relentless H1B competition. The credo seems to be "competition for thee, but not for me"

My dad was also a career IT guy, spent his first decade and a half as a COBOL programmer starting back in the late 60s. We both agree that American workers had it a whole lot better back then, not being on call 24/7 and not having to justify continued employment to execs who don't even understand what you do.

I know it's not a bed of roses for H1Bs, either. I dated one over 15 years ago, she had to jump through a lot of hoops and was tethered to her employer with below-market wages. Fortunately she liked where she was.


So @jfs and @Casual_Observer ..... you are making the argument that there is really no shortage of highly skilled labor in the US? That when you read about this shortage its just all a bunch of fabricated nonsense? And that we have all the AI engineers, doctors, cancer researchers, biotech scientists, etc... we need? But companies want to bring in h1b's just to keep salaries lower?