Employment in political organizations

May 31, 2016

The political organizations industry—which includes political parties, political action committees (PACs), political campaign organizations, and political organizations and clubs that are engaged in promoting the interests of national, state, or local political parties or candidates—employs only a small portion of the U.S. workforce. Between January 2001 and September 2015, employment in political organizations has ranged from around 5,000 to over 20,000.

Employment in political organizations by type of election year, January 2001–September 2015
Month Type of election year Employment

Jan 2001

No national elections 5,330

Feb 2001

No national elections 5,175

Mar 2001

No national elections 5,184

Apr 2001

No national elections 5,297

May 2001

No national elections 5,581

Jun 2001

No national elections 5,889

Jul 2001

No national elections 6,115

Aug 2001

No national elections 6,387

Sep 2001

No national elections 6,232

Oct 2001

No national elections 6,473

Nov 2001

No national elections 6,430

Dec 2001

No national elections 6,300

Jan 2002

Congressional elections 6,607

Feb 2002

Congressional elections 7,179

Mar 2002

Congressional elections 7,513

Apr 2002

Congressional elections 7,841

May 2002

Congressional elections 8,418

Jun 2002

Congressional elections 9,522

Jul 2002

Congressional elections 10,684

Aug 2002

Congressional elections 11,532

Sep 2002

Congressional elections 12,383

Oct 2002

Congressional elections 12,475

Nov 2002

Congressional elections 11,312

Dec 2002

Congressional elections 7,272

Jan 2003

No national elections 5,227

Feb 2003

No national elections 5,175

Mar 2003

No national elections 5,293

Apr 2003

No national elections 5,353

May 2003

No national elections 5,540

Jun 2003

No national elections 5,812

Jul 2003

No national elections 6,117

Aug 2003

No national elections 6,358

Sep 2003

No national elections 6,763

Oct 2003

No national elections 7,450

Nov 2003

No national elections 7,617

Dec 2003

No national elections 7,644

Jan 2004

Congressional and presidential elections 8,334

Feb 2004

Congressional and presidential elections 8,596

Mar 2004

Congressional and presidential elections 8,403

Apr 2004

Congressional and presidential elections 8,519

May 2004

Congressional and presidential elections 9,460

Jun 2004

Congressional and presidential elections 11,404

Jul 2004

Congressional and presidential elections 13,436

Aug 2004

Congressional and presidential elections 14,411

Sep 2004

Congressional and presidential elections 15,212

Oct 2004

Congressional and presidential elections 19,981

Nov 2004

Congressional and presidential elections 15,646

Dec 2004

Congressional and presidential elections 7,894

Jan 2005

No national elections 5,431

Feb 2005

No national elections 5,432

Mar 2005

No national elections 5,499

Apr 2005

No national elections 5,604

May 2005

No national elections 5,824

Jun 2005

No national elections 6,279

Jul 2005

No national elections 6,499

Aug 2005

No national elections 6,648

Sep 2005

No national elections 6,681

Oct 2005

No national elections 7,101

Nov 2005

No national elections 6,963

Dec 2005

No national elections 6,763

Jan 2006

Congressional elections 7,106

Feb 2006

Congressional elections 7,334

Mar 2006

Congressional elections 7,701

Apr 2006

Congressional elections 8,597

May 2006

Congressional elections 9,339

Jun 2006

Congressional elections 11,369

Jul 2006

Congressional elections 12,496

Aug 2006

Congressional elections 12,549

Sep 2006

Congressional elections 13,157

Oct 2006

Congressional elections 15,142

Nov 2006

Congressional elections 13,588

Dec 2006

Congressional elections 8,138

Jan 2007

No national elections 6,384

Feb 2007

No national elections 6,474

Mar 2007

No national elections 6,761

Apr 2007

No national elections 6,779

May 2007

No national elections 7,246

Jun 2007

No national elections 7,527

Jul 2007

No national elections 8,142

Aug 2007

No national elections 8,348

Sep 2007

No national elections 8,458

Oct 2007

No national elections 8,987

Nov 2007

No national elections 9,097

Dec 2007

No national elections 9,492

Jan 2008

Congressional and presidential elections 9,234

Feb 2008

Congressional and presidential elections 8,928

Mar 2008

Congressional and presidential elections 8,878

Apr 2008

Congressional and presidential elections 9,365

May 2008

Congressional and presidential elections 10,269

Jun 2008

Congressional and presidential elections 10,921

Jul 2008

Congressional and presidential elections 13,356

Aug 2008

Congressional and presidential elections 15,876

Sep 2008

Congressional and presidential elections 18,854

Oct 2008

Congressional and presidential elections 20,207

Nov 2008

Congressional and presidential elections 16,019

Dec 2008

Congressional and presidential elections 8,177

Jan 2009

No national elections 6,963

Feb 2009

No national elections 6,590

Mar 2009

No national elections 6,148

Apr 2009

No national elections 6,163

May 2009

No national elections 6,435

Jun 2009

No national elections 6,967

Jul 2009

No national elections 7,730

Aug 2009

No national elections 7,924

Sep 2009

No national elections 7,912

Oct 2009

No national elections 8,589

Nov 2009

No national elections 9,215

Dec 2009

No national elections 9,047

Jan 2010

Congressional elections 8,024

Feb 2010

Congressional elections 8,231

Mar 2010

Congressional elections 8,550

Apr 2010

Congressional elections 9,308

May 2010

Congressional elections 10,131

Jun 2010

Congressional elections 11,749

Jul 2010

Congressional elections 12,619

Aug 2010

Congressional elections 13,087

Sep 2010

Congressional elections 13,507

Oct 2010

Congressional elections 16,205

Nov 2010

Congressional elections 13,497

Dec 2010

Congressional elections 8,311

Jan 2011

No national elections 6,121

Feb 2011

No national elections 5,866

Mar 2011

No national elections 6,071

Apr 2011

No national elections 6,362

May 2011

No national elections 6,873

Jun 2011

No national elections 6,974

Jul 2011

No national elections 7,223

Aug 2011

No national elections 7,612

Sep 2011

No national elections 7,796

Oct 2011

No national elections 7,871

Nov 2011

No national elections 8,349

Dec 2011

No national elections 7,683

Jan 2012

Congressional and presidential elections 8,128

Feb 2012

Congressional and presidential elections 8,426

Mar 2012

Congressional and presidential elections 9,113

Apr 2012

Congressional and presidential elections 10,012

May 2012

Congressional and presidential elections 11,763

Jun 2012

Congressional and presidential elections 13,326

Jul 2012

Congressional and presidential elections 14,458

Aug 2012

Congressional and presidential elections 14,945

Sep 2012

Congressional and presidential elections 16,376

Oct 2012

Congressional and presidential elections 19,073

Nov 2012

Congressional and presidential elections 16,221

Dec 2012

Congressional and presidential elections 9,444

Jan 2013

No national elections 6,709

Feb 2013

No national elections 6,187

Mar 2013

No national elections 6,299

Apr 2013

No national elections 6,376

May 2013

No national elections 6,596

Jun 2013

No national elections 7,103

Jul 2013

No national elections 7,684

Aug 2013

No national elections 7,995

Sep 2013

No national elections 7,875

Oct 2013

No national elections 8,284

Nov 2013

No national elections 8,248

Dec 2013

No national elections 7,473

Jan 2014

Congressional elections 7,626

Feb 2014

Congressional elections 8,176

Mar 2014

Congressional elections 8,554

Apr 2014

Congressional elections 9,496

May 2014

Congressional elections 11,142

Jun 2014

Congressional elections 12,514

Jul 2014

Congressional elections 13,456

Aug 2014

Congressional elections 14,571

Sep 2014

Congressional elections 15,399

Oct 2014

Congressional elections 17,790

Nov 2014

Congressional elections 15,600

Dec 2014

Congressional elections 7,879

Jan 2015

No national elections 6,628

Feb 2015

No national elections 6,585

Mar 2015

No national elections 6,754

Apr 2015

No national elections 6,877

May 2015

No national elections 7,238

Jun 2015

No national elections 7,628

Jul 2015

No national elections 7,933

Aug 2015

No national elections 8,186

Sep 2015

No national elections 8,270

Note: Data for 2015 are preliminary.

Unlike most other industries, the political organizations industry is affected by the congressional and presidential election calendar. Presidential and (regularly scheduled) congressional elections are always held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, meaning that they always occur on November 2, November 8, or a day between those dates. Congressional elections occur in all even-numbered years. Presidential elections occur in even-numbered years divisible by 4. Odd-numbered years have no presidential elections and few, if any, congressional elections (although special elections are sometimes held to fill congressional vacancies). Elections for state, county, and municipal offices are often, but not always, held on the same day as congressional and presidential elections.

In even-numbered years over the 2001–15 period, political organizations employment has peaked in October (because most of November is after Election Day). Employment has been higher in years with both presidential and congressional elections than in years with only congressional elections. October employment reached 20,207 in 2008 and 19,073 in 2012 (years with presidential elections), but peaked at 16,205 in 2010 and 17,819 in 2014 (years with congressional elections but no presidential election). 

Steep decreases have occurred after these election-year peaks. Employment lows occurred during the first 3 months of odd-numbered years (6,148 in March 2009; 5,866 in February 2011; 6,187 in February 2013; and 6,585 in February 1015). Employment rose during the remaining months of odd-numbered years.

To learn more, see Employment patterns in political organizations, in Beyond the Numbers, May 2016. 

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Employment in political organizations on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2016/employment-in-political-organizations.htm (visited November 18, 2017).

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