Cashiers work in numerous types of retail establishments. The primary duties of cashiers are ringing up customer purchases, accepting payments and making change, and interacting with customers. Cashiers should have strong customer service skills, as well as competent everyday math skills. Because this is a low-skilled job with no formal educational requirements, cashiers tend to earn relatively low rates of pay.
National Wage Statistics:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, cashiers working in the United States earned an average of just over $20,000 per year as of May 2011. The lowest-paid 10 percent of cashiers earned $7.80 or less per hour, which works out to an average annual salary of $16,230. The bureau reports that many cashiers start out earning minimum wage. While the exact monetary value of minimum wage varies by state, it must be at least $7.25 per hour according to federal law.
Pay by State:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that cashiers in the West tend to earn the highest wages in the United States. Those in Washington led the pack for 2011 with an average salary of $25,350 per year, followed by Alaska at $24,400 and California at $23,450. Cashiers just starting out can also expect to earn the highest wages in Washington, which has the highest minimum wage of any state at $9.04 per hour. Other states with minimum wages of $8 per hour or above as of 2012 include California, Oregon, Vermont, Nevada, Connecticut, Illinois and Massachusetts.
Pay by Industry:
Average cashier earnings tend to vary by the type of establishment at which they work. Those employed at limited-service restaurants such as fast food restaurants reported some of the lowest annual earnings, an average of $18,240 per year. Cashiers at gas stations earned slightly more, averaging $18,830 per year. Those working at department stores averaged $19,220 in annual income, those at book and music stores averaged $19,560 per year, and liquor store cashiers averaged $19,950 per year. More cashiers worked in grocery stores than in any other industry segment, and they earned an average of $21,200 per year.
Although an increase in retail sales is expected over the coming decade, many stores are beginning to use technology that reduces the need for cashiers, such as self-checkout stations. In addition, many retail transactions are beginning to occur over the Internet. As a result, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment among cashiers to grow at a rate of just 7 percent between 2010 and 2020, half the rate of growth expected for the economy as a whole. However, because of the high rate of turnover among cashiers, job openings are expected to be plentiful.