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Today's Labor Force - Employment By Occupation

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In 2005, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more workers were employed in managerial or professional jobs (34.7%) than in service occupations (16.3%), sales (25.4%), or administration fields (11.6%). Other leading occupational categories included natural resources, construction, and maintenance (10.8%) and production, transportation, and material moving occupations (12.7%). (See Table 1.18.)

Administrative support and service occupations were more likely to involve women. More than one-fifth (22.4%) of women worked in office and administrative support positions in 2005, compared with only 6.4% of men. In contrast, men dominated such categories as construction and extraction occupations (11.7% of men, compared with 0.4% of women), as well as installation, maintenance, and repair occupations (6.6% of men and 0.3% of women). Men were also more likely than women to work in production, transportation, and material moving occupations. (See Table 1.18.)

According to the BLS in Employment and Earnings, African-Americans were less likely than whites to work in managerial and professional specialties, sales, and natural resources, construction, and maintenance positions. Blacks were more likely than whites to work in production, transportation, and material moving occupations, and in service occupations. African-American women were more likely to be in managerial and professional specialties, sales positions, administrative support positions, and service jobs than black men. (See Table 1.18.)

Nearly one-quarter (23.8%) of Hispanic workers were in service occupations in 2005, and one-fifth (21.5%) were in sales and office occupations. According to Employment and Earnings, nearly two out of ten Hispanic workers (18.6%) were in the production field, and another near-fifth were in natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations (19.1%). (See Table 1.18.)

In 2005, 17% of workers of Hispanic ethnicity were in the managerial and professional specialty occupations, compared with 26% of African-Americans, 35.5% of whites, and 46.4% of Asian-Americans. Although in TABLE 1.8 Unemployment in families by presence and relationship and relationship of employed of employed members and family type, 2003–04 "Table 3. Unemployment in Families by Presence and Relationship of Employed Members and Family Type, 2003–04 Annual Averages," in Employment Characteristics of Families in 2004, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 9, 2005, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/famee.pdf (accessed January 9, 2006)2005 only 2.1% of Hispanics worked in farming, forestry, and fishing, they were more likely to do so than whites (0.8%), blacks (0.3%), and Asian-Americans (0.2%). (See Table 1.18.)

TABLE 1.8
Unemployment in families by presence and relationship and relationship of employed of employed members and family type, 2003–04
[Numbers in thousands]
Characteristic Number Percent distribution
2003 2004 2003 2004
Note: Detail may not sum to totals due to rounding.
*No spouse present.
SOURCE: "Table 3. Unemployment in Families by Presence and Relationship of Employed Members and Family Type, 2003–04 Annual Averages," in Employment Characteristics of Families in 2004, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 9, 2005, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/famee.pdf (accessed January 9, 2006)
Married-couple families
    With unemployed member(s), total 3,857 3,521 100.0 100.0
No member employed 713 615 18.5 17.5
Some member(s) employed 3,144 2,906 81.5 82.5
    Husband unemployed 1,600 1,333 41.5 37.9
        Wife employed 1,023 850 26.5 24.2
    Wife unemployed 1,129 1,041 29.3 29.6
        Husband employed 991 913 25.7 25.9
    Other family member unemployed 1,129 1,147 29.3 32.6
Families maintained by women*
    With unemployed member(s), total 1,612 1,521 100.0 100.0
No member employed 842 829 52.3 54.5
Some member(s) employed 770 692 47.8 45.5
    Householder unemployed 791 758 49.1 49.8
        Other member(s) employed 162 146 10.0 9.6
    Other member(s) unemployed 821 764 50.9 50.2
Families maintained by men*
    With unemployed member(s), total 610 551 100.0 100.0
No member employed 239 234 39.2 42.5
Some member(s) employed 371 316 60.8 57.5
    Householder unemployed 340 296 55.7 53.7
        Other member(s) employed 158 117 25.9 21.3
    Other member(s) unemployed 270 255 44.3 46.3

The BLS also reported in "Characteristics of the Employed" from the Current Population Survey that in 2005 the vast majority of the American workforce were wage or salary earners in nonagricultural industries (129.9 million) as compared with agricultural industries (1.2 million). Of those in the nonagricultural sector in 2005, 9.5 million were designated as self-employed. More people also worked full-time (117 million) than part-time (24.7 million) in 2005. (See Table 1.19.)

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