Food services
payscale wage increase food services
1-year pay growth: 4.8%
Median pay: $32,700

It's tough to get by in the restaurant business: Median pay is less than $25,000 a year for both cooks and waiters -- including tips, according to the BLS.

But the recovering economy has helped a lot. "Discretionary spending has come back," said Bardaro. "People are going out to eat and getting take-out more."

That has increased demand for restaurant workers, boosting their income by 4.8% year-over-year during 12 months ending March 31, according to PayScale.

Source: PayScale
The PayScale Index tracks changes in what full-time employees earn over time based on quarterly compensation trends. This report is based on the year-over-year percentage change in compensation for the 12 months ending March 31, 2012.
- Last updated April 09 2013 09:30 AM ET
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