June 13, 2011
Nearly 100 percent of the nation's 4.2 million retail salespersons were employed by private-sector establishments in May 2010; only about 12,000 retail salespersons were employed in government (federal, state, and local). Retail salespersons was the largest occupation (as measured by the number of employees) in the private sector. The proportion of waiters and waitresses that were employed in the private sector was similar to that of retail salespersons.
Over 8 out of 10 (82 percent) of the nation's 2.7 million registered nurses worked in private-sector establishments in May 2010; however, registered nurses was one of the largest occupations in state government, though more than half of the registered nurses that work in government-owned establishments were employed in local government.
In contrast, over 9 out of 10 (91 percent) of the 1.5 million elementary school teachers, except special education worked in government-owned establishments, mostly in local government. In local government, 5 of the 6 largest occupations were education related; these 5 occupations made up about 30 percent of local government employment.
Correctional officers and jailers was the largest occupation in state government, with employment of nearly 257,000; state government accounted for 56 percent of total (private and government) employment in this occupation.
Four occupations specific to the U.S. Postal Service made up about 21 percent of federal government employment. Aside from these postal occupations, the largest occupations in the federal government included all other business operations specialists, registered nurses, compliance officers, and management analysts.