7 Surprising Facts About Salaries

Who makes more, economists or mathematicians?

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What do gaming managers at casinos and flight attendants have in common? They are among the nation's most surprising six-figure jobs, according to Forbes, which compiled the list of occupations from Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Not all gaming managers and flight attendants make six figures. For example: "The top 10 percent of gaming managers, whose primary responsibilities are overseeing staff and catering to gamblers, earn $106,220 a year, while the average annual salary is $69,600," according to Forbes.

Using recent BLS data on average salaries by occupation, I offer my own list of surprises:

  • Economists make less than mathematicians: $86,700 versus $90,930.
    • Pharmacy aides make less than crossing guards: $21,120 versus $23,460.
      • Fishers, working a notoriously dangerous job, make $28,280. Plumbers make about 70 percent more, at $47,350.
        • Subway and streetcar operators earn more than twice the salary of ambulance drivers: $47,740 versus $22,310.
          • Lawyers earn an average of $118,280 a year.
            • For the price of one lawyer, you could pay the salaries of a rehabilitation counselor ($33,350) and a substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor ($37,830) and still have enough left over to pay a marriage and family therapist ($45,310).
              • Reporters and correspondents earn $43,170, so they'd have to work a full year plus about 3¼ months to make their editors' average salary: $55,020. [Editor's note: Yes, editors obviously are underpaid, but they do get the last word.]