The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

These charts show how millions of U.S. jobs pay less now than they did in 1999

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The 10 most common occupations in America — with retail sales at the top — now make up one-fifth of total U.S. employment, according to the recently released Occupational Employment and Wages report for May 2013. Significantly, the average annual pay of seven of the top 10 in 2013 is down from 1999 when adjusted for inflation.

The top two jobs out of those 10 were the same in 2013 as they were in 1999. Those two, retail sales and cashiers, make up 6 percent of the workforce, up from 5.4 percent in 1999. The third largest, food preparation and serving workers, moved up from ninth in 1999. That job also includes fast food.

Nine of those 10 are in lower-paying jobs. Registered nurses are the only above average-paying job category in the 10 that remains from 1999. General and operations managers were fourth in 1999, but dropped to 11th in 2013.

Depending on the size of the families, some of these pay scales are close to the poverty level.

The data on 821 jobs from most recent three-year period is released each year in May.