Largest and Smallest Careers in the United States

Some careers are in more demand than others. Below you will find valuable employment information about some of the largest and smallest careers in the United States. (Numbers from the employment info below are represented in the thousands.)

This employment information shows that the two largest careers (by number of people) in the US are both sales related: retail sales and cashiers. The smallest careers involve specialization. What’s interesting here is that, while the careers with the most employees each require little formal education and aren’t particularly paid well, the careers with the least people are sometimes small because they require a lot of education (which translates into high pay) or because they are waning careers (resulting in low pay).

From this employment information you can also learn about the fastest growing and shrinking careers in the US. Many of the fastest growing occupations in the US are service related and in the healthcare field. Of the fastest shrinking careers, many are administrative or production related careers- some of which are being made obsolete due to technological gains or through sending these careers offshore.

Careers with the most people

Occupation Employment
Retail salespersons 4489.2
Cashiers, except gaming 3550.0
Office clerks, general 3024.4
Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food 2701.7
Registered nurses 2618.7
Waiters and waitresses 2381.6
Janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners 2375.3
Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand 2317.3
Customer service representatives 2252.4
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks 2063.8

Employment numbers in thousands

Careers with the least people

Occupation Employment
Prosthodontists 0.5
Radio operators 1.0
Fabric menders, except garment 1.1
Mathematical technicians 1.2
Segmental pavers 1.2
Geographers 1.3
Astronomers 1.5
Model makers, wood 1.7
Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists 1.8
Patternmakers, wood 1.9

Employment numbers in thousands

Fastest Growing Careers

Occupation Projected Change
Registered nurses 581.5
Home health aides 460.9
Customer service representatives 399.5
Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food 394.3
Personal and home care aides 375.8
Retail salespersons 374.7
Office clerks, general 358.7
Accountants and auditors 279.4
Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants 276.0
Construction laborers 255.9

Career growth represented in thousands

Fastest Shrinking Careers

Occupation Projected Change
Farmers and ranchers -79.2
Sewing machine operators -71.5
Order clerks -64.2
Postal service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators -54.5
File clerks -49.6
Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks -49.3
Telemarketers -37.8
Office and administrative support workers, all other -35.7
First-line supervisors/managers of production and operating workers -35.7
Packers and packagers, hand -34.0

Career decline represented in thousands

Careers with the most self-employed

Occupation Percent Self Employed
Farmers and ranchers 100.0
Door-to-door sales workers, news and street vendors, and related workers 94.7
Barbers 80.6
Writers and authors 69.4
Construction managers 60.9
Craft artists 60.4
Art directors 60.2
Animal breeders 60.2
Multi-media artists and animators 60.1
Photographers 60.1