How many Americans earn minimum wages

Salary in USA and Canada

Well-qualified employees can earn significantly more in the USA and Canada than in Germany. Provided they have a work permit. Without training, incomes are significantly lower.

In only two countries in the world is the per capita income higher than in the USA. The average annual income in America in 2007 was $ 45,845, reports the Federal Agency for Foreign Trade. That was around 1700 dollars more than in 2006. According to projections by the agency, income is expected to rise to around 46,500 dollars in 2008 and around 47,190 dollars in 2009. Even then, 80 million Americans do not earn enough to support a family. After all, that's more than a quarter of the population.

Unlimited opportunities, unequal income

In the land of unlimited opportunities, incomes are distributed more unequally than in any other industrial country in the world. "While individual success is still possible, four out of five American families have lost their share of national income over the past fifty years, while the minority has gotten considerably richer," says The Measure of America: American Human Development Report 2008 -2009 ".

The American economy slipped into a crisis last year, but the incomes of top managers increased nonetheless. As a study by the news agency AP shows in the salaries of bosses whose companies are listed in the Standard & Poor stock market index, their income rose in 2007 compared to the previous year by an average of $ 280,000 annually to almost $ 8.4 million. The ten executives with the best salaries earned the fabulous annual income of more than half a billion dollars. The top earner was John Thail of the consulting firm Merrill Lynch with an annual income of $ 83.1 million.

More salary despite the financial crisis

As in the old world, income in the new world depends on the type of activity and the region in which someone works. With a minimum wage of $ 5.25, Wyoming is on the lower end of the scale. But the cost of living is lower than in other states or metropolises such as Chicago and San Francisco. Unskilled workers are paid less on average in the USA than in Germany. Jobs that require special qualifications are significantly better paid.

However, the country is currently being hit hard by the financial crisis. Millions of Americans lost their homes because they could not pay their loans. And around 16,000 bank employees have been laid off since last fall. According to estimates by the independent research institute Independent Budget Office, this is only the beginning of a radical job cut. In March 2008 alone, 80,000 jobs were cut in America. The unemployment rate rose from 4.8 to 5.1 percent - the highest level in three years. The authors of the study "Salary Trends Survey 2007/2008" - carried out by the consulting firm ECA-International - assume that incomes in the USA will nevertheless rise by four percent this year - thanks to rising manager salaries and a highly unequal distribution of income.

Work permit

If you want to work in the USA, you need an appropriate visa or a work and residence permit. The US Consulate General can provide more information on the very complicated procedure. The other possibility of being allowed to work in America is primarily based on luck: so-called green cards are raffled off in a lottery process.

Canadians require foreign workers to have completed manual or technical training. In addition, one to two years of professional experience is required, which should not be more than a year ago. German citizens can enter the country without a visa. However, anyone who wants to pursue temporary employment needs a work permit in any case. Emigrants can apply for immigration to the Canadian consulate in Berlin. If approved, a work permit is included. In some Canadian provinces, immigration is also possible through a Provincial Nominee Program. The Federal Office of Administration has detailed information about entry and work ready.

Low unemployment in Canada

Although Canada has close to full employment in statistical terms, there are significant differences between industries and regions. The oil-rich province of Alberta, with its booming economy, has an unemployment rate of just 3.5 percent, while the rate in the central province of Ontario is almost twice as high, reports the Central Foreign and Specialized Agency. Overall, the unemployment rate was 5.8 percent in February 2008, the lowest level in 30 years.

"Inexpensive and skilled jobs. Low taxes and cost of living. In addition, first-class research and development as well as production capacities. With its geographical location directly above the most lucrative market in the world, Canada has developed into a paradise for entrepreneurs with global reach," says the consulting firm KPMG in his guide "Competitive Alternatives - Competitiveness through the right choice of location". The employees also benefit from this through rising wages.

Great on average

The average per capita income in Canada rose nearly $ 5,000 in 2007 compared to the previous year to $ 43,485. According to forecasts by the Federal Agency for Foreign Trade, it should rise to around $ 47,000 in 2008 and around $ 48,215 in 2009.

By the way: the inhabitants of the small Atlantic island of Bermuda have the highest incomes in the world. With an average per capita income of the equivalent of 84,000 dollars, they were at the top of the world in 2006. This is followed by Luxembourg, the USA, Canada and Great Britain. In Germany in 2007 it was $ 40,395.

(Peter Ilg, 2008)

additional Information

U.S. Consulate General

Advice on emigration to the USA and Canada (emigration / EURES)

Lottery green card

Canadian Embassy in Germany

Central foreign and specialist placement of the Federal Employment Agency