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The Coronavirus – Why the U.S. Economy Will Never be the Same Part 6: What Should Change – An Appreciation for Service Sector Workers

Ever wonder what it would be like to not be able to go to your favorite restaurant, or not be able to take a trip to your favorite location? Ever think about how dependent the U.S. economy is on delivery drivers, grocery store workers, and food distribution/warehouse workers? Maybe not, but perhaps the coronavirus changed that. It put a spotlight on the importance and contributions of many service sector workers and occupations. And of course, the contribution of healthcare workers. Doctors, nurses, social workers, supply workers, administrative support personnel, and all those responsible for keeping hospitals and medical clinics clean and full of supplies. Obviously, workers in many different positions made important contributions to the U.S. dealing with the pandemic.

There are many service sector workers that play key roles in the U.S. economy – those key roles make ordinary living better, safer, and healthier. The coronavirus highlighted some of those roles and gave much deserved recognition to select service sector workers. Listed below is information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as of May 2018 that shows employment and wage information for select service sector workers. Unfortunately, workers are not always paid based on their contributions to society. As the data indicates, the workers are many, but the pay is not always high. Greater detail for each category of workers is available through the BLS links provided below. At the very least, perhaps the pandemic leads to a greater appreciation for all those workers in the service sector that make life better, safer, and healthier.

Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations

National Employment  National Mean hourly wage National Mean annual wage  Wisconsin Employment Wisconsin Mean Annual Wage
13,374,620 $12.30 $25,580 245,820 $23,270

National Wage Distribution for Food Prep and Serving

Percentile 10% 25% 50% (Median) 75% 90%
Hourly Wage $8.49 $9.33 $11.09 $13.59 $17.96
Annual Wage  $17,660 $19,410 $23,070 $28,270 $37,360

Healthcare Support Occupations

National EmploymentNational Mean hourly wage National Mean annual wage  Wisconsin Employment Wisconsin Mean Annual Wage
4,117,450 $15.57 $32,380 71,290 $32,760

National Wage Distribution for Healthcare Support

Percentile 10%25%50% (Median)75%90%
Hourly Wage$10.21$11.77$14.30$18.04$23.05
Annual Wage$21,240 $24,470 $29,740$37,520$47,950

For further information:

CBEI Blog Series: The Coronavirus – Why the U.S. Economy Will Never be the Same
Part 1: What Happened – A Review of the Economic Impacts
Part 2: What Happened – A Review of the Stock Market
Part 3: What Will Change – Supply Chains
Part 4: What Will Change – Healthcare
Part 5: What Will Change – Deficits and Government Spending
Part 6: What Should Change – An Appreciation for Service Sector Workers
Part 7: What Should Change – Securities Regulation of Congress

Kevin Bahr

Prof. Kevin Bahr, Ph.D. is the chief analyst of the Center for Business and Economic Insight at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point School of Business and Economics. Follow his blog for the latest news from CBEI.

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