In its annual report on wages and occupational employment, the BLS found that 4.6 million Americans worked in retail sales while 3.4 million more worked as cashiers, making up almost six percent of total U.S. employment.
The two job categories increased by a combined 400,000 workers since 2012. Retail workers made $24,020 a year on average, while cashiers made $20,670, according to the BLS.
The ten largest occupations accounted for 21 percent of total employment in the U.S. Besides retail salesperson and cashier, they include food preparation and serving, general office clerk, registered nurse, customer service representative, waiter and waitress, laborer, secretary and administrative assistant, and janitor.
Of the ten largest professions, only registered nurses commanded a mean wage above the national average of $47,230. Nurses made an average of $69,790.
In contrast, food service worker, including fast food cook and dishwasher, was one of the lowest paid occupations, averaging just $19,110 per year.
The uptick of workers in lower-paying professions has helped to decrease the unemployment rate. The BLS found 5.5 percent of Americans unemployed in February, compared to 6.7 percent in February 2014 and 7.7 percent in February 2013.
In his State of the Union Address in January, President Obama said he was pleased with the progress made towards decreasing unemployment. “After a breakthrough year for America, our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999,” Obama said.