March 26, 1999
Of the 102.2 million private industry jobs in 1997, the highest percentage of employment by major industry was in services at 33.0 percent. Other large shares of employment were reported in retail trade (21.5 percent) and manufacturing (18.3 percent). The lowest major industry shares were in mining (0.6 percent) and agriculture, forestry, and fishing (1.7 percent).
Over time, employment in the U.S. economy has shifted the most in the manufacturing and service sectors.
The employment share for services has increased from 18.3 percent in 1972 to 26.7 percent in 1987, 30.5 percent in 1992, and now 33.0 percent in 1997. In contrast, the employment share in manufacturing has decreased from 32.8 percent in 1972 to 22.5 percent in 1987, 20.2 percent in 1992, and now 18.3 percent in 1997.
The retail trade employment share at those same four points in time has consistently hovered in the 21-percent range. Similarly, he employment shares of the other major industry divisions have shown minimal change over the time period.
These employment data are produced by the BLS Covered Employment and Wages (ES-202) program, a virtual census of establishments, employment, and wages of employees on nonfarm payrolls. Additional information may be obtained from the bulletin, "Employment and Wages Annual Averages, 1997." Note that industry data for 1972 contained employment totals for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, which were later broken out separately from the U.S. total.