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 July 04, 2015).
Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics
New estimates of personal taxes in Consumer Expenditure Survey
In 2013, the Consumer Expenditure Survey improved its personal tax data.
Trends in long-term unemployment
Long-term unemployment reached historically high levels following the recession of 2007–2009.
Housing: before, during, and after the Great Recession
looks at consumer expenditures on household items, employment in residential construction, prices for household items, and injuries in occupations involved in building and maintaining our homes.