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The highest average annual pay among industries was in mining in 1999, while the lowest pay was in the retail trade industry.
Mining, which accounts for less than 1 percent of private sector employment, has held the top position in annual pay ($54,653) since BLS began publishing annual pay levels for industries in 1980. This rate of pay was 65 percent greater than the national average of $33,220 for private sector workers in 1999. The next highest pay level ($50,865) was registered in the finance, insurance and industry, which was 53 percent higher than average pay for all private industry workers.
As it has every year since 1980, retail trade recorded the lowest pay ($17,592), partly reflecting its relatively large share of part-time workers. In 1999, the pay level of retail workers was 47 percent below the national average for all private industry workers.
The BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program produced these data. Pay data presented here are for workers covered by State and Federal unemployment insurance (UI) programs. Average annual pay is computed by dividing total annual payrolls of employees covered by UI programs by the average monthly number of these employees. Find more information on pay in 1999 in "Average Annual Pay By State and Industry, 1999," news release USDL 00-339.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Mining industry continues to be highest paid, retail trade lowest at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2000/nov/wk4/art01.htm (visited March 21, 2023).