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Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupation Profiles


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Distinct Groups (18): https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes350000.htm
Employment: 12,981,720
Mean Hourly Wage: $11.47
Mean Annual Wage: $23,850
Largest Employment--Combined Food Prep and Serving Workers--3,426,090
Smallest Employment Category-- Cooks, Private Household--370
Wage Estimates for the entire group can be found here


The Food Preparation and Serving Related occupation profiles compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (released in May 2016 and modified in March 2017) include specific information about 18 distinct occupational job types

Explore the qualifications and nature of each job type through links on this page and throughout the site.

Within this occupational group, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has designated the following job types as having a Bright Outlook status, meaning they are projected to display “Rapid Growth” and/or “Numerous Job Openings” during the period between 2016-2026. “Rapid Growth” means the category is projected to grow faster than average (employment increase of 10% or more), and “Numerous Job Openings” is defined as projected to have 100,000 or more job openings during this time period.

Bartenders Numerous Job Openings  Video
Chefs and Head Cooks  Rapid Growth  Video
Combined Food Prep and Serving Workers Rapid Growth & Numerous Job Openings  Video
Cooks, Restaurant Rapid Growth & Numerous Job Openings  Video
Counter Attendants, Cafeteria, Food Concession, and Coffee Shop Numerous Job Openings Video
First-Line Supervisors of Food Prep and Serving Workers Numerous Job Openings Video
Food Preparation Workers Numerous Job Openings Video
Food Servers, Nonrestaurant  Rapid Growth  Video
Waiters and Waitresses Rapid Growth  Video

Fast Facts: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”) estimates that 12,981,720 are employed in this occupational group earning the “mean annual wage” (as defined below) of $23,850.

If you are interested in assessing long-term trends and comparing the Bureau’s annual surveys beginning in 1988 see here

In general, the “mean” is the sum of the total values (e.g., wages) in the data set or survey divided by number of values (while the “median” is the middle value in same the sequence. The term “mean annual wage” (or “MAW”) is calculated by multiplying the mean hourly wage as determined by the BLS by a “year-round, full-time” hours figure of 2,080 hours. So, for example, the Food Preparation and Serving Related group’s mean hourly wage of $11.466, multiplied by 2,080, results in the mean annual wage of $23,850.

Did you know? As expected, New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division (505,400), Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division (398,170) and Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, IL Metropolitan Division (300,700) head up the metropolitan areas with the highest employment levels.  But, the metropolitan area with the highest concentration of jobs and highest annual mean wage?  Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI stands at the top spot with 184.35 jobs per 1,000 and an annual mean wage of $35,410.

 Highest Paid (mean annual wage)


 Lowest Paid (from lowest)


For the entire list of mean annual wages for this occupation (from highest to lowest), see here

Sources: In addition to specific citations noted, supplementary source materials include the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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