America’s wealthy need pampering — and they’re hiring.
“Wealth jobs,” or personal care jobs like childcare workers, private chefs, housekeepers, and massage therapists, have seen higher-than-average growth since 2010, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution.
In fact, between 2010 and 2017, “the number of manicurists and pedicurists doubled, while the number of fitness trainers and skincare specialists grew at least twice as fast as the overall labor force,” the Atlantic’s Derek Thompson reported, citing the Brookings data.
The jobs tend to center in places with resort economies, like Hawaii and Florida, Brookings reported. High-wealth cities also tend to have more “wealth jobs.”
The Brookings report focuses on 12 specific occupations that particularly cater to the wealthy, ranging from personal-care workers like manicurists and hair stylists to financial specializations like tax preparers and personal financial advisors. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics program, we found the share of each state’s workforce in one of those 12 occupations as of May 2018, the most recent period for which data is available:
Despite serving an ultra-wealthy clientele, wealth jobs themselves don’t pay much. Manicurists and pedicurists make about $11 an hour, and skincare specialists make $15 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fitness trainers and private chefs earn a little more, but may work precarious schedules.
Jobs caring for the wealthy grow as income inequality widens
Service jobs for the wealthy stem, at least in part, from the growing gap between the rich and poor.
The top 20% richest Americans owned 77% of total household wealth in 2016— and the top 1% alone holds more than the entire middle class. What’s worse, the top 1% of Americans own a record breaking 23.9% of wealth. The last time the richest owned this much income was directly before the Great Depression.
As the rich continue to get richer, many middle- and working-class Americans struggle to get by. While the economy is at “full employment,” meaning there are more open jobs than those looking for work, wages have essentially stagnated, growing at a rate of just 0.2% per year since 1973 when adjusting for inflation.