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May 11, 2004
Big Gap Between Highest, Lowest Paid

Healthcare-related occupations, including specialist physicians and dentists, accounted for 8 of the 10 highest-paying occupations in May 2003, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.

The average hourly wages for these health-related occupations ranged from $91.48 for surgeons to $63.08 for dentists. The lowest-paying occupations included fast-food cooks who earned $7.23 per hour and hair shampooers who earned $7.27 per hour. Five of the six lowest-paying occupations were related to food preparation and serving.

Management and legal occupational groups were the highest paying of the 22 major occupational groups. About 30 percent of the workers in these two occupational groups earned more than $43.74 per hour.

The occupational groups with the lowest average wages were food preparation and serving related; farming, fishing, and forestry; building and grounds cleaning and maintenance; and personal care and service. At least 40 percent of all workers in each of these groups earned less than $8.50 per hour.

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