Posted September 01, 2018 03:29:56Firefighters are still among the most valuable employees in the United States, with the nation’s largest private employers employing more than one million of them.
But according to new research, they’re also among the hardest-hit by the economic downturn, leaving many workers behind in a job that pays less than minimum wage.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that firefighters are currently making about $7.75 an hour and they’re paid $7 an hour more than their counterparts in other occupations.
That makes them the highest paid workers in the US, ahead of police officers, construction workers and food service workers.
The median wage for a firefighter is $27.65 per hour, according to a 2017 analysis by the Bureau of Labour Statistics.
That’s nearly $9 an hour less than the median salary for an all-purpose worker, such as a teacher, teacher aide or janitor.
But the number of firefighters in the country has dropped significantly over the past decade.
According to the Bureau, the number has fallen by 6.6% since the recession began in 2007, to 3.9 million.
“I can’t tell you how many firefighters I have seen get laid off, or how many job opportunities have gone unfilled, or that the pay hasn’t kept pace with inflation,” said Mark L. Reidenberg, the bureau’s assistant director for economic research.
“The real story of the firefighting profession is that it’s still incredibly difficult to find.”
Lying on the job is the most common cause of death among firefighters.
Nearly half of the nearly 2,000 people killed by fire in the U.S. between 2008 and 2016 died in the first four weeks of 2017.
About 60% of those firefighters are white, while less than a third are black, Hispanic or Asian, according the BLS.
“The reality is, many firefighters are not part of the American community,” said Daniel W. Dickey, the BSA’s director of programs and partnerships.
“We need to look at our current job market and make sure we’re putting more and more of these talented firefighters to work in the private sector, as opposed to sitting on the sidelines.”
The BLS also found that about a third of the jobs in the construction industry in the city of Detroit were held by people of color.
About 17% of jobs in construction are held by African-Americans, the highest share of any industry in any city in the nation.
More than half of all jobs in education, which includes public schools, are held at-risk by the downturn.
Nearly a third (31%) of all public schools in the Detroit area are held in poverty, according a 2016 report by the Education Trust.
But firefighters are a relatively well-educated, skilled group.
They are more likely to hold advanced degrees and hold certifications that have a higher pay than those for other occupations, such the nurse, physical therapist, teacher or pharmacy technician.
They also earn more in salary, with firefighters making $63,000, while all other occupations earn $39,000.
The BSA found that firefighters have also seen the steepest wage declines over the last 10 years.
In 2018, the median wage of a firefighter was $28.35 per hour.
That was down 5% from $30.25 in 2016.
By 2020, it was down 7.6%, to $28 an hour.
And the unemployment rate for firefighters has dropped to 4.9%, from 5.2% in 2017.
In the last three years, the rate has been lower than the national average, which is about 6%.
Despite the challenges, the Bureau found that many firefighters want to keep working.
A survey by the firefighters union found that 76% of respondents said they want to continue their work in an industry that is “highly rewarding.”
“They are still looking for work,” said Reidenburg.
“They’re still in a precarious position.
The only way they’re going to get that is if the economy improves.”
Firefighters have made some strides in the last decade, with some jobs being created in the past year, but many of those jobs have gone to immigrants, including immigrants from China and Mexico.
The BLS estimates that about 1.2 million Americans are currently undocumented, while another 6.3 million are part of a family with a U.N. identification card.
For many firefighters, the economic challenges are making it difficult to pay their bills.
According the BSU, a firefighter’s salary is about $17,000 less than that of a non-firefighter who earns a similar salary.
In 2020, that difference was $15,000 for a non/immigrant firefighter.
While many firefighters were looking to save money and take their career to the next level, others were facing other financial problems.
A 2016 study by the National Fire Protection Association found that some firefighters are facing foreclosure.
In 2017, more than 80% of firefighters reported that they