Three of 4 top jobs in region are low paying, analysis says

Three of the four most common jobs in the region tend to pay lower wages, which means workers may qualify for and need government aid to put food on the table and pay their bills, according to new research by Policy Matters Ohio.

More than 33,000 people in the Dayton metro area work in fast food, retail or have cashier jobs where the median pay is between about $11.45 and $13.70 per hour, says Policy Matters Ohio’s analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Wages for these occupations have risen in recent years, but the gains were tempered by inflation.

“Wages at all jobs should cover the basics, so people and their families can thrive,” says Policy Matters. “Recent wage growth is a positive trend following decades of wage suppression and stagnation.”

Fast food and counter work was the top occupation in Dayton metro area in 2022, according to federal data analyzed by Policy Matters Ohio. The metro area includes Montgomery, Miami and Greene counties.

About 10,370 people worked these jobs locally, with a median hourly pay of $11.45.

The median estimate means that half of workers earned less than this amount, while half earned more.

This occupation saw a nearly 11% increase in pay since 2019 (or about $1.20 more per hour).

The third most common job was retail sales, while the fourth was cashier positions.

About 8,740 people are employed as retail sales workers locally, while 8,470 serve as cashiers. The local median pay for retail sales is about $13.70 per hour (+11% from 2019) and $12.40 for cashiers (+2%).

The second most common local occupation was registered nurse.

This occupation has a median pay of about $36.85 per hour, or $76,660 per year.

Four of the 10 biggest local occupations had median annual earnings roughly between $23,800 and $28,550.

Home health and personal care aide positions also are one of the top jobs. These positions have a median pay of about $13.50 per hour.

Of the top 10 occupations in the Dayton area, only two paid wages that were enough for financial security at least 200% of the poverty level, or $46,060 per year, Policy Matters Ohio said.

More than 391,000 people work in the Dayton region.

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