Unexpectedly Intriguing!
August 10, 2005

After looking at what would be considered to be a "bad" job in a recent report by the St. Louis branch of the Federal Reserve, the question naturally arises as to what a "good" job is, and how much it pays. Today, we're going back, again, into the Fed's report because it also has this vital data!

As noted on Monday, the Fed's report defined a "good" job to be a high-paying one, one that shows a "strong" association between their prevalance and whether a given community has lower rates of crime, higher property values and rising education levels compared to communities where low-paying jobs predominate.

The data in the table below is taken from Table A1 of the report's Appendix, and shows the industry of the low-paying job, as well as it's average hourly wage in Year 2000 US dollars. The table is ranked from lowest to highest:

"Good" Jobs
Industry Average Hourly Wage ($USD)
Pipelines (except natural gas) 24.43
Theaters and Motion Pictures 24.58
Air Transportation 24.72
Railroads 24.79
Legal Services 24.85
Guided Missiles, Space Vehicles and Parts 25.86
Petroleum Refining 25.91
Metal Mining 26.14
Business Management and Consulting Services 27.00
Security, Commodity Brokerage and Investment Companies 30.93

Following the tradition of yesterday's question of answering what the best "bad" job is, today, we seek to answer the question of: "What is the worst 'good' job?" According the the St. Louis Fed's study, it's found in the Machinery, Equipment and Supplies Trade, where one might expect to earn an average hourly wage of $19.94 in 2000 dollars!


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