CareerBuilder and Emsi Review Wages of Everyday Heroes in Occupations Americans Can't Live Without
PR Newswire

CHICAGO, June 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- As the nation gets ready for the Fourth of July, CareerBuilder and Emsi are saluting everyday heroes in America with a list of occupations we can't live without – and what these critical occupations are being paid.


"There are more than 323 million people in America today," said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. "While every job plays an important role in making America a successful, thriving nation, our study focuses on 12 careers that provide for our most basic needs: food, clean water, health, shelter, safety and communication. These workers impact our lives every day, so today we're taking our hats off to celebrate our often unsung heroes."

 Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers

  • Number employed: 494,879
  • Ratio to U.S. population: 1 farmer for every 654 people
  • Median income: $30,597
  • Why we can't live without them: Crops and livestock found on farms are responsible for most, if not all, food found in your pantry and refrigerators. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation 97 percent of farms are family owned.

Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant and System Operators

  • Number employed: 113,370
  • Ratio to U.S. population: 1 operator for every 2,856 people
  • Median income: $45,968
  • Why we can't live without them: When we need to pour fresh water or dispose of used water, this usually only takes a simple turn of a handle. But, to move water from one place to another requires a lot of equipment, constant monitoring, cleaning and frequent testing of water samples.


  • Number employed: 4,031,658
  • Ration to U.S. population: 1 teacher for every 80 people
  • Median income: $55,557
  • Why we can't live without them: Teachers give our children knowledge and understanding of the world around them, while preparing them for adulthood. This number includes teachers from kindergarten through secondary education, including Special Education.

Construction Laborers

  • Number employed: 1,335,944
  • Ratio to U.S. population: 1 construction worker for every 242 people
  • Median income: $31,658
  • Why we can't live without them: One of the most physical occupations on this list, construction workers can be found operating a wide variety of hand and power tools – from a hammer and nails to cement mixers – at construction sites around the country. They build our bridges, skyscrapers, houses and just about everything else.

Electrical and Telecommunications Line Installers and Repairers

  • Number employed: 238,922
  • Ratio to U.S. population: 1 line worker for every 1,355 people
  • Median income: $60,965
  • Why we can't live without them: Electronic devices are part of our everyday lives. Cables travel long distances from power stations to provide electricity and phone communications to almost every structure in the U.S. When the power goes out, we also rely on these workers to locate and fix the problem as quickly as possible.

Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors

  • Number employed: 134,250
  • Ratio to U.S. population: 1 collector for every 2,412 people
  • Median income: $34,258
  • Why we can't live without them: Researchers from Yale University estimated that Americans throw out about five pounds of trash per person, per day. That's a lot of garbage we don't want crowding our streets, so we need these individuals to keep our neighborhoods sanitary.

Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers

  • Number employed: 675,939
  • Ratio to U.S. population: 1 officer for every 479 people
  • Median income: $60,466
  • Why we can't live without them: Police officers across the country maintain order and respond to emergency situations at a moment's notice to apprehend criminals every day.


  • Number employed: 314,928
  • Ratio to U.S. population: 1 firefighter for every 1,028 people
  • Median income: $48,859
  • Why we can't live without them: Firefighters keep communities safe from one of the most destructive natural forces on the planet. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fires were responsible for 3,275 civilian deaths and $11.5 billion in property damage in 2014.

EMTs, Paramedics and Ambulance Drivers

  • Number employed: 266,853
  • Ratio to U.S. population: 1 worker for every 1,214 people
  • Median income: $32,510
  • Why we can't live without them: Workers in these professions provide emergency medical treatment and patient transportation to medical facilities in dire situations. These professionals are trained to move fast, think quickly and they may just save your life someday.

Registered Nurses

  • Number employed: 2,870,340
  • Ratio to U.S. population: 1 nurse for every 113 people
  • Median income: $69,077
  • Why we can't live without them: Nurses are the lifeblood of most medical operations from hospitals and nursing homes to home care. Workers in this profession typically interact with patients more frequently than doctors and provide hands-on assistance in a number of ways.

Military Occupations

  • Number employed: 2,098,652
  • Ratio to U.S. population: 1 military member for every 154 people
  • Median income: $35,194
  • Why we can't live without them: These heroes protect Americans on a daily basis through various efforts. While some operate in combat and training capacities, others operate transport vehicles, provide medical services and legal assistance. The U.S. military has enough professions to ensure our safety in any situation.

Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers

  • Number employed: 1,926,886
  • Ratio to U.S. population: 1 truck driver for every 168 people
  • Median income: $39,312
  • Why we can't live without them: Goods of any kind need to be distributed across the country for sale or delivery. Most products and packages are driven on trucks between cities, states or even cross-country.

About Emsi
Emsi (Economic Modeling Specialists Intl.) is a CareerBuilder company that provides industry-leading employment data and economic analysis via web tools and custom reports. Emsi turns vast amounts of labor market data into easy-to-use information that helps organizations understand the connection between economies, people, and work, and ultimately build a better workforce. Emsi's software services - Analyst and Career Coach - are used by thousands of professionals in higher education, workforce and economic development, and the private sector. Emsi has also produced more than 1,400 comprehensive impact analyses for colleges and universities in the U.S. and internationally. For more information, visit

About CareerBuilder®
As the global leader in human capital solutions, CareerBuilder specializes in cutting-edge HR software as a service to help companies with every step of the recruitment process from acquire to hire. CareerBuilder works with top employers across industries, providing job distribution, sourcing, workflow, CRM, data and analytics in one pre-hire platform. It also operates leading job sites around the world. Owned by TEGNA Inc. (NYSE:TGNA), Tribune Media (NYSE:TRCO) and The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI), CareerBuilder and its subsidiaries operate in the United States, Europe, South America, Canada and Asia. For more information, visit

1Emsi data is collected from more than 100 federal and state sources, such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau and state labor departments.

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