Unexpectedly Intriguing!
August 9, 2005

Yesterday, Political Calculations(TM) looked at where good jobs grow, by way of a recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis' research economist Christopher H. Wheeler. Today, we're going back into the report because it ranks jobs according to how "bad" they are on average!

As noted yesterday, Wheeler defined a "bad" job to be a low-paying one, one that shows a "weak" association in whether a given community with a lot of these kinds of jobs has lower rates of crime, higher property values and rising education levels. "Good" jobs, on the other hand, are high-paying jobs that are strongly associated with communities with these characteristics.

The data in the table below is taken from Table A2 of the report's Appendix, and shows the industry of the "bad" job, as well as it's average hourly wage in Year 2000 US dollars. The table is ranked from highest to lowest:

"Bad" Jobs
Industry Average Hourly Wage ($USD)
Sewing, Needlework and Piece Goods Stores 12.14
Lodging Places (except hotels and motels) 12.10
Knitting Mills 12.07
Gasoline Service Stations 12.00
Barber Shops 11.90
Bowling Alleys, Billiard and Pool Parlors 11.86
Apparel and Accessories (except knit) 11.72
Beauty Shops 11.38
Retail Florists 11.30
Eating and Drinking Places 10.85

The question might be asked: "What is the best 'bad' job?" According the the St. Louis Fed's study, it's one in the "Pottery and Related Products" industry, where one might expect to earn an average hourly wage of $14.69 in 2000 dollars.


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