Office and administrative support occupations make up nearly 16 percent of U.S. employment, May 2013
April 09, 2014
In May 2013, office and administrative support was the largest occupational group, making up nearly 16 percent of total U.S. employment. The next largest groups were sales and related occupations and food preparation and serving related occupations, which made up about 11 and 9 percent, respectively. Seven of the 10 largest occupations were in one of these three groups.
|Occupational group||Percent of total|
|Annual mean wage||Percent employed|
in private sector
Office and Administrative Support
Sales and Related
Food Preparation and Serving Related
Transportation and Material Moving
Education, Training, and Library
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical
Business and Financial Operations
Installation, Maintenance, and Repair
Construction and Extraction
Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance
Personal Care and Service
Computer and Mathematical
Architecture and Engineering
Community and Social Service
Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media
Life, Physical, and Social Science
Farming, Fishing, and Forestry
The smallest occupational groups included legal occupations and life, physical, and social science occupations, each making up less than 1 percent of total employment in May 2013.
The highest-paying occupational groups were management, legal, computer and mathematical, and architecture and engineering occupations. Most detailed occupations in these groups were also high paying. For example, all 19 computer and mathematical occupations had average wages above the U.S. all-occupations mean of $46,440, ranging from $50,450 for computer user support specialists to $109,260 for computer and information research scientists.
The lowest-paying occupational groups were food preparation and serving related; farming, fishing, and forestry; personal care and service; building and grounds cleaning and maintenance; and healthcare support occupations. Annual mean wages for these groups ranged from $21,580 for food preparation and serving related occupations to $28,300 for healthcare support occupations. With few exceptions, the detailed occupations in these groups had below-average wages. For example, occupational therapy assistants and physical therapy assistants were the only healthcare support occupations with mean wages above the U.S. all-occupations mean.
Among 665,850 employed persons in the District of Columbia in May 2013, there were about 3,370 political scientists—accounting for 50.6 out of every 10,000 jobs in the District of Columbia. In all of the United States there were 5,570 political scientists employed out of a total of 132,588,810 employed people—meaning less than 1 (0.42) out of every 10,000 jobs in America were political scientists. The ratio that compares the concentration of employment in a defined area (in this case, the District of Columbia) to that of a larger area (the United States) is referred to by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as the "location quotient."
|Layout workers, metal and plastic||9.05||1,690|
|Zoologists and wildlife biologists||18.65||840|
|Plasterers and stucco masons||4.37||1,680|
|Shoe machine operators and tenders||13.35||500|
|Farmworkers and laborers, crop, nursery, and greenhouse||5.89||171,160|
|Atmospheric and space scientists||9.65||1,800|
District of Columbia
|Textile winding, twisting, and drawing out machine setters, operators, and tenders||10.49||7,990|
|Forest and conservation technicians||15.58||2,140|
|Rail transportation workers, all other||5.67||870|
|Soil and plant scientists||12.81||1,900|
|Agricultural equipment operators||5.41||1,240|
|Roof bolters, mining||14.14||1,120|
|Logging equipment operators||11.15||1,200|
|Subway and streetcar operators||12.02||2,050|
|Biochemists and biophysicists||5.38||3,850|
|Model makers, metal and plastic||6.12||1,140|
|Food scientists and technologists||6.78||2,060|
|Entertainment attendants and related workers, all other||3.91||750|
|Forest and conservation technicians||20.73||2,040|
|Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers||10.33||11,620|
|Metal workers and plastic workers, all other||11.80||1,230|
|Marriage and family therapists||4.98||4,170|
|Physical scientists, all other||12.03||1,660|
|Textile winding, twisting, and drawing out machine setters, operators, and tenders||8.88||6,880|
|Extraction workers, all other||35.75||910|
|Foundry mold and coremakers||3.54||1,790|
|Logging workers, all other||40.15||1,390|
|Gas compressor and gas pumping station operators||4.66||890|
|Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers||7.05||560|
|Pesticide handlers, sprayers, and applicators, vegetation||9.44||650|
|Mine cutting and channeling machine operators||8.36||540|
|Highway maintenance workers||4.76||1,490|
|Legal support workers, all other||7.15||8,950|
|Aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging, and systems assemblers||15.68||14,310|
|Mine shuttle car operator||76.87||1,120|
|Foundry mold and coremakers||6.26||1,670|
The location quotient of political scientists in the District of Columbia is 50.6 divided by 0.42 (the location quotient of political scientists in the United States), which equals about 120.5—indicating there are about 120.5 times as many political scientists per 10,000 total employed people in the District of Columbia as in the United States as a whole.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Office and administrative support occupations make up nearly 16 percent of U.S. employment, May 2013 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2014/ted_20140409.htm (visited November 25, 2014).
Three recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics
Housing: before, during, and after the Great Recession
looks at consumer expenditures on household items, employment in residential construction, prices for household items, and injuries in occupations involved in building and maintaining our homes.
Women veterans in the labor force examines the demographic, employment, and unemployment characteristics of women veterans.
BLS Statistics by Occupation provides an overview of occupational employment and wages with an emphasis on STEM jobs and occupational data by typical entry-level education required.