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Money

Wealthy Americans Hiring Servants for 'Downton Abbey' Service

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The U.S. Labor Department reported today that the unemployment rate is 6.7 percent.

Bloomberg News noted today that 175,000 jobs were added in February, which was more than most economists expected.

While unemployment still remains high, there is one employment area that is booming in America: servants for wealthy people.

Claudia Kahn, founder of a Los Angeles staffing agency, recently told the Wall Street Journal that rich people are requesting "Downton Abbey-type service” that they see on the popular PBS TV series.

Of course, "Downton Abbey" is a period production set when workers had little, if any, rights.

Kahn says a housekeeper for a super rich client can earn up to $60,000 a year and a “lady’s maid” can make $75,000.

Full-time butlers can bank $70,000 a year, while butlers who travel with wealthy clients can earn as much as $200,000 a year.

However, it's not always big bucks. Many maids and housekeepers are underpaid because they are illegally in the U.S.

According to National Affairs, in 2008, Illegal immigrants were 27% of maids and housekeepers, 28% of dishwashers, 10% of workers in leisure and hospitality and 23% in private household employment.

For these workers, there are no legal protections and they live a real-life "Downton Abbey" existence without the glamour.

The Daily Mail notes that wealthy people in the UK are also hiring butlers. In fact, the demand has doubled in recent years.

Sources: Bloomberg News, Daily Mail, National Affairs, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News

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