Largest occupations in private and government sectors, May 2009
August 03, 2010
Retail salespersons and cashiers were the two largest occupations in the private sector in May 2009. Postal service mail carriers; correctional officers and jailers; and elementary school teachers, except special education, had the highest employment among all occupations in Federal, State, and local government, respectively.
Retail salespersons and cashiers had employment levels of 4.2 and 3.4 million, respectively; these two occupations combined represented almost 7 percent of total employment in the private sector. The third largest private sector occupation, combined food preparation and serving workers, with employment of 2.5 million, accounted for slightly more than 2 percent of total employment in the private sector.
The largest occupations in Federal Government included the following: Postal service mail carriers (with employment of 339,030); all other business operations specialists (170,450); postal service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators (162,860); and compliance officers, except agriculture, construction, health and safety, and transportation (99,570). Four occupations specific to the U.S. Postal Service accounted for 23 percent of federal employment.
Employment in State government was more widely distributed by occupation than employment in Federal and local government. Although correctional officers and jailers was the largest occupation, with an employment level of 257,280, it accounted for only about 6 percent of state government employment.
Employment in local government was concentrated in teaching occupations. Three of the largest—elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers, except special education—with employment totaling 3.0 million, accounted for 20 percent of local government employment. Other large occupations were protective service occupations such as police and sheriff's patrol officers (556,420).
These data are from the Occupational Employment Statistics program. To learn more, see "Occupational Employment and Wages by Ownership — May 2009" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL-10-1045. Previously released OES data have not included separate tabulations by ownership.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Largest occupations in private and government sectors, May 2009 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2010/ted_20100803.htm (visited November 27, 2015).
Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics
Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.
- A look at pay at the top, the bottom, and in between
The Spotlight examines how earnings and wages have changed over time and how they differ within a geographic area, industry, or occupation.