Las Vegas Sun

November 20, 2017

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The Sunday:

The Sunday: What we make: How does your income stack up to others in Nevada?



Sheets of $100 bills.

This story was first published in the March 16 issue of The Sunday, a sister publication of the Sun.

Ever look around at the signs of recovery here — the construction and rebound in travel and tourism — and wonder why it doesn’t feel like the recession has ended for you?

There’s a reason: It hasn’t in terms of wages.

If you’re a financial manager, a food server, a machinist, an engineer or a therapist, congratulations for picking a great time to be working in Las Vegas.

If you’re doing practically anything else for a living? Well, at least the weather’s nice most of the year.

The average Las Vegan makes about $41,400 a year, a figure that has stalled since the recession. The average worker lucky enough to get a raise saw his or her paycheck increase by only about $110 in 2012. Before the recession, the average annual raise was more than $2,000.

That’s not to say some people aren’t cashing in. Many corporate executives, Strip entrepreneurs, elected officials and celebrities are raking in big bucks.

But the slow increase in most people’s pay has meant that thin family budgets are stretched even further, constricting consumer spending, a crucial cog in the region’s overall economic recovery. With unemployment still at almost 9 percent in December, a return to normal wage growth likely will take several years, economists say.

People “have less money to spend, so businesses do less well, they hire less and they pay lower wages,” economist John Restrepo said. “Two-thirds of the economy is driven by consumer spending. ... As long as consumer spending is sluggish, you’ll have sluggish growth in the economy.”

With high unemployment and an excess of willing workers, there’s little pressure for companies to increase salaries. That likely won’t change until the unemployment rate drops to 5 or 6 percent.

“There’s just not much demand for the workers because of nature of the recovery we’ve had,” Restrepo said. “Companies have learned to make do with less.”

The hardest hit

More than 110,000 valley jobs were lost from 2007 to 2012. That’s 12 percent of the labor force.

The construction industry took the hardest hit when the housing market crashed. Construction jobs shrunk by a third from the start of the recession to 2012.

Those who have remained employed have wrestled with flat or decreasing wages, a big hit from the average 5 percent annual raises they earned during the boom. Roofers, stucco masons, painters, drywall installers and carpenters all saw their wages drop in 2012.

As tourism stalled and consumer spending dipped, employees in service-related jobs also took a hit. Wages of hairdressers, fitness trainers, car technicians and others dropped as the public scrimped and saved by forgoing nonessentials.

Employees at larger companies generally have fared better, as bigger operations can better absorb economic shocks. Workers at smaller companies, however, and self-employed professionals, such as lawyers and dentists, saw sharp decreases in their take-home pay.

More than 17,000 office and administrative workers lost their jobs from 2007 to 2012, and wages for clerks, human resource specialists and secretaries increased just 1 percent in three years, largely because employers had little incentive to raise salaries when they could find cheaper workers among the unemployed.

“We’re starting to see job growth, but there’s a big hole to dig out of,” said Bill Anderson, chief economist at the Nevada Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation.

The bright spots

The biggest wage increases in recent years have been in the health and technology fields. Both industries require highly specialized skills and have been growing locally and nationally despite the downturn.

Health care workers’ wages increased faster than any other industry over the past five years. Physical and occupational therapists, for instance, saw their pay rise 33 and 22 percent, respectively, from 2009 to 2012.

Overall, the local health care industry added 6,000 workers since 2007. The number of personal care aides alone tripled over the past seven years. High demand for services has meant that workers’ wages have increased faster than inflation, even as jobs were added.

The technology sector also is healthy, in part because many tech companies can sell their services nationally, widening their customer base and helping to insulate them from local economic struggles.

Who’s winning? Who’s losing? And who are the people at the top of the compensation pyramid?

Here’s a look, based on information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:


Accountants and auditors: $29.77/$61,910

Actors: $34.06:

Administrative services managers: $36.49/$75,900

Advertising and promotions managers: $49.12/$102,160

Advertising sales agents: $28.41/$59,100

Agents and business managers of artists, performers and athletes: $33.59/$69,860

Aircraft mechanics and service technicians: $30.58/$63,610

Animal Control workers: $27.99/$58,230

Appraisers and assessors of real estate: $34.05/$70,830

Architects, except landscape and naval: $38.12/$79,290

Art directors: $43.37/$90,210

Art, drama, and music teachers: $37.95/$78,930

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations: $28.79/$59,870

Athletic trainers: -/$40,370

Audio and video equipment technicians: $30.78/$64,030

Automotive body and related repairers: $20.49/$42,630

Automotive service technicians/$mechanics: $19.62/$40,810

Baggage porters and bellhops: $12.50/$26,000

Bakers: $13.78/$28,660

Bartenders: $13.40/$27,880

Bill and budget analysts: $35.49/$73,820

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations: $14.14/$29,400

Bus, truck mechanics, bus drivers, school: $19.64/$40,860

Bus drivers, transit and intercity: $14.80/$30,780

Business and financial operations occupations: $30.68/$63,820

Business operations specialists, all other: $34.40/$71,550

Butchers and meat cutters: $15.29/$31,800

Cabinetmakers and bench carpenters: $19.50/$40,550

Cardiovascular technologists and techs: $27.94/$58,110

Carpenters: $25.96/$54,000

Cashiers: $10.68/$22,210

Chefs and head cooks: $25.92/$53,920

Chemists: $40.33/$83,890

Chief executives: $85.80/$178,460

Child, family and school social workers: $23.29/$48,450

Childcare workers: $9.31/$19,370

Chiropractors: $27.97/$58,180

Clergy: $25.67/$53,390

Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists: $30.60/$63,650

Coin, vending and amusement machine servicers and repairers: $21.63/$45,000

Commercial and industrial designers: $27.10/$56,360

Commercial pilots: -/$77,170

Computer hardware engineers: $42.20/$87,770

Concierges: $16.16/$33,620

Construction and building inspectors: $35.47/$73,780

Construction laborers: $18.1/$37,650

Construction managers: $42.82/$89,070

Cooks, all other: $17.32/$36,030

Cooks, fast food: $9.68/$20,120

Cooks, institution and cafeteria: $14.64/$30,460

Cooks, restaurant: $13.68/$28,450

Cooks, short order: $14.03/$29,190

Costume attendants: $24.54/$51,040

Customer service representatives: $15.38/$31,990

Dancers: $30/-

Demonstrators and product promoters: $12.02/$25,010

Dental assistants: $17.67/$36,760

Dental hygienists: $43.84/$91,180

Dentists, general: $60.04/$124,890

Designers, all other: $18.16/$37,770

Dietitians and nutritionists: $37.89/$78,810

Dining room and cafeteria attendants, and bartender helpers: $12.43/$25,850

Dishwashers: $12.12/$25,210

Editors: $25.15/$52,310

Education administrators, all other: $34.22/$71,170

Education administrators, elementary and secondary school: -/$87,120

Education administrators, postsecondary: $46.75/$97,240

Education administrators, preschool and child care center/$program: $17.73/$36,870

Electrical engineers: $42.18/$87,730

Electricians: $30.01/$62,430

Elementary school teachers, except special education: -/$52,630

Eligibility interviewers, government programs: $20.51/$42,650

Entertainers and performers, sports, related workers,: $55.22/-

Entertainment attendants and related workers: $14.12/$29,380

Environmental engineers: $40.07/$83,350

Examiners, investigators: $32.14/$66,860

Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants: $26.04/$54,160

Family and general practitioners: $81.31/$169,130

Film and video editors: $26.62/$55,360

Financial analysts: $36.15/$75,180

Fine artists, painters, sculptors, and illustrators: $19.37/$40,280

Fitness trainers and aerobics instructors: $14.52/$30,190

Floral designers: $13.73/$28,550

Food batchmakers: $17.44/$36,280

Food preparation and serving workers, including fast food: $9.32/$19,380

Food preparation workers: $13.71/$28,520

Food servers, nonrestaurant: $11.84/$24,640

Food service managers: $36.52/$75,970

Gaming and sports book writers and runners: $11.16/$23,210

Gaming cage workers: $15.56/$32,370

Gaming change persons and booth cashiers: $12.46/$25,910

Gaming dealers: $8.25/$17,170

Gaming managers: $49.32/$102,590

Gaming supervisors: $26.32/$54,750

Gaming surveillance and investigators: $18.66/$38,820

General managers: $50.45/$104,930

Graphic designers: $24.42/$50,800

Hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists: $10.48/$21,790

Hazardous materials removal workers: $20.66/$42,980

Health educators: $32.93/$68,500

Health specialties teachers, postsecondary: -/$108,540

Health care social workers: $32.57/$67,750

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers: $21.48/$44,680

Highway maintenance: $21.09/$43,870

Home health aides: $13.32/$27,700

Hosts and hostesses, restaurant, lounge and coffee shop: $12.62/$26,260

Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks: $15.27/$31,760

Human resources assistants, except payroll and timekeeping: $16.08/$33,450

Industrial engineers: $37.39/$77,780

Industrial production managers: $48.04/$99,930

Industrial truck and tractor operators: $16.22/$33,730

Information and record clerks, all other: $17.82/$37,060

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations: $23.37/$48,610

Insurance claims and policy processing clerks: $18.31/$38,090

Insurance sales agents: $25.25/$52,520

Insurance underwriters: $29.84/$62,070

Interior designers: $25.06/$52,110

Internists, general: $91.10/$189,500

Janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeepers: $13.63/$28,340

Kindergarten teachers, except special education: : $51,930

Landscaping and groundskeeping workers: $12.84/$26,700

Laundry and dry-cleaning workers: $10.90/$22,670

Lawyers: $58.47/$121,620

Legal occupations: $45.55/$94,740

Legal secretaries: $20/$41,590

Legislators: -/$49,620

Licensed practical and vocational nurses: $25.85/$53,780

Life, physical, social science occupations: $32.84/$68,310

Lifeguards, ski patrol, other recreational protective workers: $10.10/$21,020

Light truck or delivery services drivers: $16.32/$33,930

Loan officers: $29.69/$61,750

Locker room, coatroom, dressing room attendants: $10.41/$21,660

Locksmiths and safe repairers: $23.31/$48,480

Lodging managers: $48.91/$101,730

Machine feeders and offbearers: $12.72/$26,460

Machinists: $20.11/$41,820

Maids and housekeepers: $14.35/$29,840

Managers, all other: $48.75/$101,400

Manicurists, pedicurists: $9.22/$19,180

Marketing managers: $56.72/$117,970

Massage therapists: $13.49/$28,060

Meat, poultry and fish cutters and trimmers: $11.58/$24,080

Mechanical drafters: $19.17/$39,880

Mechanical engineers: $39.45/$82,050

Media and communication workers: $28.91/$60,120

Medical and clinical laboratory technicians: $20.11/$41,830

Medical and clinical laboratory technologists: $31.28/$65,070

Medical and health services managers: $50.95/$105,970

Medical aAssistants: $14.88/$30,950

Medical secretaries: $18.24/$37,940

Meeting, convention and event planners: $23.78/$49,460

Mental health social workers: $23.88/$49,660

Mental health counselors: $23.10/$48,050

Merchandise displayers and window trimmers: $14.80/$30,790

Motorboat mechanics and service technicians: $16.14/$33,570

Multimedia artists and animators: $20.08/$41,780

Musicians and singers: $32.82/-

Natural sciences managers: $56.09/$116,660

New accounts clerks: $18.59/$38,670

Nonfarm animal caretakers: $10.87/$22,600

Nuclear medicine technologists: $37.27/$77,530

Occupational Health and Safety specialists: $34.06/$70,840

Occupational therapists: $52.83/$109,880

Occupational therapy assistants: $37.47/$77,930

Office and administrative support occupations: $16.20/$33,700

Office clerks, general: $15.06/$31,330

Optometrists: $46.09/$95,870

Order clerks: $14.19/$29,500

Packers and packagers, hand: $11.35/$23,610

Painters, construction and maintenance: $23.56/$49,000

Painting, coating and decorating workers: $14.54/$30,250

Paralegals and legal assistants: $24.71/$51,400

Parking lot attendants: $10.74/$22,350

Parts salespeople: $14.33/$29,800

Payroll and timekeeping clerks: $18.61/$38,710

Personal care aides: $10.09/$20,990

Personal care and service occupations: $12.33/$25,640

Personal financial advisers: $34.12/$70,980

Pest control workers: $16.71/$34,760

Pharmacists: $55.64/$115,730

Pharmacy aides: $8.51/$17,710

Pharmacy technicians: $16.59/$34,510

Photographers: $22.9/$47,630

Physical therapist aides: $14.41/$29,970

Physical therapist assistants: $31.40/$65,320

Physical therapists: $56.31/$117,130

Physician assistants: $49.48/$102,930

Physicians and surgeons, all other: $106.34/$221,200

Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters: $33.12/$68,880

Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers: $26.61/$55,360

Postal Service clerks: $24.31/$50,560

Postal Service mail carriers: $26.01/$54,090

Postal Service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators: $23.66/$49,210

Private detectives and investigators: $25.04/$52,080

Producers and directors: $39.24/$81,620

Protective service occupations: $18.77/$39,040

Psychiatrists: $77.79/$161,810

Public relations and fundraising managers: $55.80/$116,060

Public relations specialists: $28.24/$58,740

Products: $25.41/$52,840

Purchasing managers: $49.61/$103,190

Real estate brokers: $36.57/$76,070

Real estate sales agents: $21.61/$44,960

Receptionists and information clerks: $13.20/$27,470

Recreation workers: $13.78/$28,660

Reporters and correspondents: $24.18/$50,290

Reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks: $15.86/$32,990

Respiratory therapists: $34.17/$71,070

Retail salespersons: $13.12/$27,290

Roofers: $18.86/$39,220

Sales and related occupations: $16.08/$33,440

Sales engineers: $41.33/$85,960

Sales managers: $48.73/$101,360

Sales representatives, services, all other: $23.75/$49,400

Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents: $28.67/$59,640

Security and fire alarm systems installers: $27.40/$56,990

Security guards: $13.02/$27,070

Self-enrichment education teachers: $20.18/$41,970

Sewing machine operators: $13.91/$28,920

Sheet metal workers: $24.99/$51,970

Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks: $14.86/$30,920

Skincare specialists: $11.09/$23,070

Slot supervisors: $14.55/$30,260

Social and community service managers: $33.15/$68,960

Social and human service assistants: $14.32/$29,790

Sound engineering technicians: $40.55/$84,340

Stock clerks and order fillers: $11.92/$24,790

Structural iron and steel workers: $31.21/$64,920

Structural metal fabricators and fitters: $17.20/$35,780

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors: $21.18/$44,050

Surgeons: $101.96/$212,080

Surgical technologists: $26.84/$55,830

Surveyors: $36.30/$75,510

Switchboard operators, answering service: $14.41/$29,980

Tailors, dressmakers and custom sewers: $14.93/$31,060

Tapers: $22.33/$46,440

Tax examiners, collectors, and revenue agents: $32.87/$68,360

Tax preparers: $20.68/$43,010

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs: $15.09/$31,390

Teacher assistants: -/$32,820

Team assemblers: $13.48/$28,040

Technical writers: $28.93/$60,170

Telemarketers: $13.27/$27,610

Tellers: $13.20/$27,450

Tile and marble setters: $21.90/$45,540

Tire repairers and changers: $14.64/$30,450

Transportation, material moving occupations: $17.30/$35,980

Transportation workers, all other: $20.25/$42,130

Travel agents: $16.88/$35,100

Upholsterers: $18.69/$38,880

Urban and regional planners: $40.69/$84,640

Ushers, lobby attendants, ticket takers: $11.20/$23,300

Veterinarians: $42.32/$88,030

Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers: $13.07/$27,180

Veterinary technologists and technicians: $14.41/$29,970

Waiters and waitresses: $11.23/$23,350

Word processors and typists: $13.98/$29,080

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