America's most common job: Retail salesperson
4.3 million people don a big-box store vest -- and make the $25,000 that goes along with it, if they're lucky enough to land the gig.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Friday that as of last May, the American retail salespeople at Wal-Mart (WMT), Target (TGT), Home Depot (HD), Lowe's (LOW) and elsewhere have the most common job in the country. Nationwide, 4.3 million retail salespeople are making an average of $25,000, or well below the annual mean wage of $45,790.
As The Atlantic astutely notes, America has more retail salespeople than Kentucky has citizens. It's also enough retail sales jobs to employ every man, woman and child in Wyoming, Vermont, Washington, D.C., North Dakota, Alaska and South Dakota combined. That's not necessarily surprising in an economy in which roughly 65% of the 5.7 million jobs added since the recession have been low wage.
It's even less surprising to the 3.3 million cashiers who hold American's No. 2 job and work alongside those retail salespeople each day. To register workers making little more than $20,000 a year, retail salesperson is not only a position worth aspiring to but perhaps their only escape from being squeezed out by self-checkout and other new technology.
While larger retailers have no problem absorbing the growing number of low-wage workers, small businesses have told The Wall Street Journal that any slight uptick in labor costs -- including the minimum wage -- could prompt them to replace their counter help with tablets and software. Food vendors, for example, view cashiers as an unnecessary link in the supply chain that could be replaced easily by a touchscreen device that takes orders and accepts payment through services like Square.
Still, even if cashiers make the leap to retail salesperson and slightly better wages, their outlook remains bleak. The 2.9 million folks employed as food-service workers in the nation's No. 3 job are seeing their hours cut by employers concerned about health care costs. Plus, The Journal reports, their jobs are also being targeted by touchscreen software developers and $22,000 automated burger flippers.
Should low-wage workers land one of the 527,000 jobs the Labor Department says the retail industry has created since the end of the recession, competition for those gigs is fierce. Workers with a high school education or less who once populated retail positions are being pushed aside by college graduates. The Center For College Affordability and Productivity reported that nearly half of the college graduates from the Class of 2010 are working in jobs that don't require a bachelor's degree. A full 38% have taken positions that don't require a high school education. According to The Associated Press, that has dropped the median wage for college graduates significantly since 2000.
That leaves us with the modern symbol of American labor: An overeducated, overqualified person in a vest pointing Rosie the Riveter and the cubicle drones from "Office Space" to the gardening section.
Problems with the job market:
1. Employers now offer 36 hours a week so they do not have to pay medical insurance.
2. The hiring process now takes weeks for one job.
3. Too many people applying for the good jobs reducing chances.
4. Internet has caused an increase in unqualified candidates applying .
5. Employers now step over the line in wanting to control personal lives as well.
6. Most interview questions are just plain stupid. I was recently asked how I will survive on the salary offered? My answer probably the same way your other employees do.
7. Overqualified individuals applying for low level positions making it impossible to get a median income job.
8. It is an employers market.
9. Cost of living goes up but pay never does.
10. You now have to know someone to get a decent position.
When one figures that a retail clerk (single mom 1-2 kids) is earning $10.10 hr but working 30/hr wk with no benefits that mean taxpayers are providing about $2,400/yr in food stamps, $2,400 assistance with low income housing, $6,000 yr in child care, than add on the cost of Meidcaid , currently valued over $1000/month for a family of 2-3. Then you see why government is growning and why business is making billionairs of their CEOs.
Raise wages, eliminate welfare, et people live on what they earn and let the CEOs F-themselves.
Compression of wages for the once middle cl****fessions will continue just as they have in other countries. High school drop outs were replaced with high school grads and now are being replaced by college grads for menial jobs. Workers even with advanced education will soon not be able to earn a living wage.
|Median wages (2011)||$10.10 hourly, $21,010 annual|
We have got to figure a way for all people wanting to work full-time...get full-time and earn a livable wage regardless of the work...if it needs doing, it should pay at least just above poverty level.
Once this was a given, now unskilled means slave labor....while the owners at places like Wal-Mart and HEB are billionaires. Sure the owners should be rewarded, but they should either have the pride to pay their workers a decent wage, or we figure a way to dramatically tax the rich and supply the working poor with many of their needs so their paycheck sustains them on the rest..
....and don't bring up that "trickle down" nonsense that the congressmen bought by the rich feed you....nothing ever trickles down. The rich love high unemployment (look at the tea party looking to destroy as many government jobs as possible) because then they can fill their unskilled jobs for peanuts and get richer.
Furthermore our corrupt congress is now going to legalize hundreds of thousands of illegals to take whatever jobs which remain for our high school dropouts, high school grads, and the college grads with useless liberal arts degrees. The U.S. is on a very slippery slope to becoming a third world country. Of course, as in all third world countries, the politicians and the privileged classes, including politicians, will retain their money and lofty positions while the middle classes disappear, the students get even more substandard educations and the poor die from common diseases or starvation. In addition the corporate leaders and congress will continue to send the good paying jobs to India, China, Africa and other hell holes until such time as we are poorer and less educated then those places. They will bring the jobs back when we become a nation of 300,000,000 poverty stricken, uneducated, groveling slaves.
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