The 10 Most-Common (and 10 Least-Common) Jobs in America Today

Also: What's the most-common job in government?

There are 4.3 million retail salespeople in the United States, equivalent to the state population of Kentucky. And there are 310 prosthodontists -- that is, dentists specializing in prosthetic teeth -- which is enough to fill, well, a medium-sized lecture hall.

Those are the most- and least-common occupations in the United States, according to a new survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here are the full top- (and bottom-) ten lists:

Screen Shot 2013-04-01 at 9.52.11 AM.png

Screen Shot 2013-04-01 at 9.52.21 AM.png

Three more interesting nuggets from the report.

(1) The most "urban" job in America -- that is, with the highest concentration in metro areas -- isn't technically a job in U.S. cities, but above U.S. cities. It's flight attendants. 

(2) What's the most common government job? Depends on the level of government. At the federal level, it's postal service workers. In state governments, it's correctional officers and jailers. And at the local level, teachers aren't just the largest job category. At various levels of education, they're the five largest job categories.

(3) Shampooers are more likely to live in cities than software developers. Now you know. If you're interested in learning more about shampooers, this page is your new heaven.

Technical note: There are surely scarcer jobs than prosthodontists, it's just that the BLS doesn't count them. Take, for example, I don't know, rodeo clowns. How many rodeo clowns are there in America? I haven't the faintest idea. Neither does the BLS. Last year, it published a report on rodeo clowns, in which the author bravely admitted: "The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not collect employment or wage data on rodeo clowns." So to be precise, these are the least-populated job categories in the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics.

>

Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Business

Just In