Jobs, Wages and Value

by RaeAnne Marsh

As business tries to gear back up from the COVID-19 shutdown, the health of the economy is a major concern. Businesses are concerned about their profitability, and employees are concerned about their wages. 

Business.org, a company that researches and compares the top business products and services, conducted a study on pay rates across the country for the “essential workers” who have recently become high-profile for getting food to our tables, packages to our doorsteps, keeping our shelves stocked and, essentially, ensuring our community keeps running.

The study found that, in every state, essential workers make far less than other occupations — ranging from a deficit of 7.8 percent in Nevada to 47.2 percent in the District of Columbia. Of the essential workers jobs considered, cashiers make the least nationwide, at an average of $23,600, while postal service employees make the most, at an average of $51,300. Healthcare workers were not included in the essential worker salary averages.

Arizona ranks No. 12 for essential worker salaries. The average salary of essential workers in Arizona is $32,464, while the average salary for all occupations is $38,410. Nationwide, those numbers are $32,474 and $39,810, respectively. Nationwide, essential employees earn an average of 18.2 percent less than employees in other industries. In Arizona, they make 155 percent less.

Data was drawn from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates report from May 2019.

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