Introduction

The formulation of targeted economic development plans and programs requires socioeconomic data from various sources. The Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation annually produce occupational employment and wage data. From the 2006 Nevada Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, occupational employment and wage data are available for 645 Nevada occupations. These occupations accounted for 1.26 million jobs with an annual average wage of $46,091. This fact sheet will discuss the highest and lowest paying occupations in the state of Nevada and compare the state to national trends. Education requirements for each occupation are discussed in a University of Nevada Cooperative Extension fact sheet titled “Future Demand for Education and Training in Nevada: 2004-2014.”

Highest and Lowest Paying Occupations in Nevada

For economic development planning, it may be of interest to know the top five paying occupations, as well as the five lowest paying occupations. Planners can use this information to target industries that bring in jobs with higher paying wages versus industries that pay the least.

The highest paying occupations in Nevada for 2006 were:

Surgeons, obstetricians and gynecologists, internists, family and general practitioners and all other physicians and surgeons.

The highest annual average wage was for surgeons. Their average salary of $187,630 was just over $3,400 higher than the national average for this occupation. Overall, 20 of the 25 highest paying occupations in Nevada had average annual salaries that were above the national average. Obstetricians and gynecologists, dentists, podiatrists and engineering managers had salaries that were below the national average. Lawyers had salaries equal to the national average. The majority of these occupations required an education level of at least a bachelor’s degree.

The lowest paying occupations in Nevada for 2006 were:

Gaming dealers, fast food cooks, farm and ranch animal farm workers, combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food and child care workers.

Gaming dealers had the lowest annual average wage. Their average salary of $13,780 was approximately $3,200 lower than the national average for this occupation. Eleven of the 25 lowest paying occupations in Nevada had average annual salaries that were above the national average. Dishwashers had the highest positive margin of difference in average salary, with Nevada workers earning $20,080 compared to the national average of $16,190. A majority of these low paying occupations required only shortterm, on-the-job training.

Highest Paying Occupations in Nevada

The major Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) group of Healthcare Practitioner and Technical Occupations accounted for 13 of Nevada’s 25 highest paying occupations. Further, the top six occupations and 10 of the top 15 occupations in annual average wage were contained in this major SOC. Among the remaining highest paying occupations, there were five management occupations, two legal occupations and two architecture and engineering occupations.

Table 1 depicts the 25 highest paying occupations in Nevada. These occupations accounted for 28,000 jobs, or 2.2 percent of all Nevada occupations. The annual average wage of these 25 occupations in 2006 was $127,328, with surgeons garnering an average annual wage of $187,630, which was the highest annual average wage in Nevada.

Lowest Paying Occupations in Nevada

The major SOC group of food preparation and serving related occupations accounted for eight of the 25 lowest paying occupations in Nevada, while the personal care and service occupations accounted for seven of the 25 lowest paying occupations. These two groups comprised seven of the top 10 lowest paying occupations in Nevada in terms of annual average wage. Among the remaining lowest paying occupations, four were in transportation and material moving occupations.

Table 2 shows the 25 lowest paying occupations, which accounted for 196,410 total jobs or 15.6 percent of all jobs in Nevada. The annual average wage for these 25 occupations in 2006 was $18,266.

Table 1. Twenty-five Highest Paying Occupations in Nevada
NV Rank Occupation Employment NV Annual Average Wage US Rank
1 Surgeons ** $187,630 2
2 Obstetricians and Gynecologists ** $173,640 3
3 Internists, General ** $169,350 6
4 Family and General Practitioners ** $158,080 9
5 Physicians and Surgeons, All Other ** $151,520 11
6 Psychiatrists ** $150,920 8
7 Real Estate Brokers 390 $147,170 73
8 Chief Executives 810 $144,640 10
9 Dentists, General 820 $137,090 13
10 Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners, All Others 260 $130,050 57
11 Nuclear Engineers 140 $127,790 36
12 Judges, Magistrate Judges and Magistrates 190 $122,870 29
13 Aerospace Engineers ** $118,270 43
14 Podiatrists 60 $118,150 15
15 Optometrists 180 $117,650 27
16 Chiropractors 220 $116,490 70
17 Lawyers 4,760 $113,660 16
18 Engineering Managers 930 $107,900 18
19 General and Operations Managers 15,930 $103,030 26
20 Veterinarians 350 $102,950 68
21 Computer and Information Scientists, Research ** $100,260 28
22 Agents and Business Managers of Artists, Performers and Athletes 130 $100,150 54
23 Public Relations Managers 280 $97,210 35
24 Pharmacists 2,060 $94,070 34
25 Education Administrators, Postsecondary 490 $92,670 59

**Employment data not reported

Table 2. Twenty-five Lowest Paying Occupations in Nevada
NV Rank1 Occupation Employment NV Annual Average Wage US Rank1
1 Gaming Dealers 24,660 $13,780 7
2 Cooks, Fast Food 12,220 $15,130 2
3 Farmworkers, Farm and Ranch Animals ** $15,720 37
4 Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food 18,680 $16,350 1
5 Child Care Workers 1,690 $16,630 24
6 Amusement and Recreation Attendants 2,880 $17,290 11
7 Bicycle Repairers ** $17,380 65
8 Waiters and Waitresses 38,360 $17,610 9
9 Parking Lot Attendants 3,140 $17,680 17
10 Counter Attendants, Cafeteria, Food Concession and Coffee Shop 5,180 $17,760 6
11 Dining room and Cafeteria Attendants and Bartender Helpers 14,720 $17,970 4
12 Lifeguards, Ski Patrol and Other Recreational Protective Service Workers 1,350 $18,580 15
13 Cleaners of Vehicles and Equipment 4,720 $18,620 33
14 Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers 510 $18,810 41
15 Ushers, Lobby Attendants and Ticket Takers 2,900 $18,990 10
16 Packers and Packagers, Hand 5,630 $19,130 27
17 Service Station Attendants 770 $19,410 26
18 Food Servers, Non-restaurant 1,770 $19,490 30
19 Cashiers 36,570 $19,650 13
20 Molding, Coremaking, Casting Machine Setters, Operators and Tenders; Metal and Plastic 390 $19,720 152
21 Dishwashers 9,760 $20,080 3
22 Hosts and Hostesses, Restaurant, Lounge and Coffee Shop 5,480 $20,090 5
23 Transportation Attendants, Except Flight Attendants and Baggage Porters 710 $20,220 42
24 Personal and Home Care Aides 2,130 $20,220 14
25 Gaming and Sports Book Writers and Runners 2,190 $20,330 38

1Rank of 1 indicates lowest ranking job, rank of 25 indicated 25th lowest paying job.

Highest and Lowest Paying Occupations in the United States

Knowledge of Nevada occupational trends that are similar or dissimilar to the overall national trend may allow the state of Nevada’s economic development practitioners to target appropriate economic activities. Also, analysis of this data may provide information to Nevada decision makers to develop appropriate public policies to enhance high paying occupations in the state.

Highest Paying Occupations in the United States

In comparison to the highest paying occupations in Nevada, Table 3 depicts the 10 highest paying occupations in the United States, which accounted for 597,660 jobs, or 0.45 percent of total U.S. occupations in 2006.

Healthcare practitioner and technical occupations accounted for 14 of the United States’ 25 highest paying occupations. Further, the top nine occupations and 13 of the top 15 occupations in annual average wage were contained in this major SOC. Among the remaining highest paying occupations, there were seven management occupations, and two transportation and material moving occupations.

Lowest Paying Occupations in the United States

In comparison to the lowest paying occupations in Nevada, Table 4 depicts the 10 lowest paying occupations in the United States, which accounted for 7,356,270 jobs, or 5.5 percent of total U.S. occupations in 2006.

Food preparation and serving related occupations accounted for ten of the 25 lowest paying occupations in Nevada, while personal care and service occupations accounted for six of the 25 lowest paying occupations. These two groups comprised the top 10 lowest paying occupations in the United States in terms of annual average wage.

Among the remaining lowest paying occupations, two were transportation and material moving occupations, two were production occupations and two were farming, fishing and forestry occupations.

Table 3. Ten Highest Paying Occupations in the United States
US Rank Occupation Employment US Annual Average Wage NV Rank
1 Anesthesiologists 29,890 $184,340 *
2 Surgeons 51,900 $184,150 1
3 Obstetricians and Gynecologists 22,520 $178,040 2
4 Orthodontists 5,200 $176,900 *
5 Oral and maxillofacial Surgeons 5,320 $164,760 *
6 Internists, General 48,700 $160,860 3
7 Prosthodontists 480 $158,940 *
8 Psychiatrists 24,730 $149,990 6
9 Family and General Practitioners 109,400 $149,850 4
10 Chief Executives 299,520 $144,600 8

*Occupation not reported in Nevada statistics.

Table 4. Ten Lowest Paying Occupations in the United States.
US Rank1 Occupation Employment US Annual Average Wage NV Rank
1 Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food 2,461,890 $15,930 4
2 Cooks, Fast Food 612,020 $15,960 2
3 Dishwashers 502,770 $16,190 21
4 Dining Room and Cafeteria Attendants and Bartender Helpers 401,790 $16,320 11
5 Hosts and Hostesses, Restaurant, Lounge and Coffee Shop 340,390 $16,860 22
6 Counter Attendants, Cafeteria, Food concession and Coffee Shop 524,410 $16,950 10
7 Gaming Dealers 82,960 $17,010 1
8 Shampooers 15,580 $17,050 *
9 Waiters and Waitresses 2,312,930 $17,190 8
10 Ushers, Lobby Attendants and Ticket Takers 101,530 $17,500 15

1Rank of 1 indicates lowest ranking job, rank of 10 indicates 10th lowest paying job.

Conclusions

Economic development planners should consider occupational wages when targeting new businesses in Nevada. Planners have to balance targeting businesses with higher paying occupations with businesses that employ lower paying occupations. As shown in Tables 1 and 2, the top 25 highest paying occupations account for only 2.2 percent of total 2006 Nevada employment while the 25 lowest paying occupations account for 15.6 percent of the states total.

References

May 2006 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimate, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2007.

May 2006 Nevada Occupation Employment and Wage Estimate, Nevada Workforce Informer, 2007.

Price, S. and Harris, T. 2006, Highest and Lowest Paying Occupations in Nevada, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS-07-51

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