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Topic Archives: Occupations

Workplace Fatalities of Older U.S. Workers, Including Baby Boomers, Reach Historic High

We have a guest blogger for this edition of Commissioner’s Corner. Caleb Hopler is an economist in the Office of Safety, Health, and Working Conditions at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Baby Boomer” is a term for Americans born between 1946 and 1964. Most Baby Boomers are now age 55 and older. Workplace safety for these older workers is reflected in counts and rates of fatal occupational injuries.

Workers aged 55 and older had the highest rate of fatal work injuries among all age groups in 2016, according to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. The rate for workers age 65 and older—9.6 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers—was notably higher than the rate for all workers (3.6).

Rate of fatal work injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers by age, 2016

Editor’s note: Data for this chart are available in the table below.

Workers age 55 and older accounted for 36 percent of all fatally injured workers in 2016, although workers in this age group comprised just 23 percent of all workers in 2016. The 1,848 deaths among workers age 55 and older in 2016 is the highest ever recorded for this age group since we began reporting national data in 1992.

These fatally injured employees worked in many different occupations: 29 percent in transportation and material moving; 15 percent in construction and extraction; 14 percent in management; 9 percent in installation, maintenance, and repair; 6 percent in building and grounds cleaning and maintenance; 5 percent in farming, fishing, and forestry; and the rest in other occupations.

Top occupational groups for workers age 55 and older who suffered fatal work injuries in 2016

Editor’s note: Data for this chart are available in the table below.

We also collect the event or exposure, which describes the manner in which the fatal injury occurred. More workers die from transportation incidents than any other event, while fires and explosions have the lowest counts. Of the 773 fatal injuries from transportation incidents in 2016, 135 workers were pedestrians fatally struck by a vehicle or mobile equipment. Roadway collisions with at least one other vehicle resulted in 219 worker deaths. Another 116 workers were killed in a roadway collision with an object other than a vehicle, which could include trees or barriers.

Falls, slips, and trips resulted in 426 fatal injuries to workers age 55 and older in 2016, second only behind transportation incidents. Within this category, 313 workers died from falls to a lower level. These include falls due to collapsing structures or equipment, through a surface or existing opening, or from objects or structures (such as trees, stairs, or roofs).

Fatal occupational injuries to workers age 55 and older by event

Editor’s note: Data for this chart are available in the table below.

In 2016, the total number of deaths among workers of all ages was at an 8-year high of 5,190. This was a 7-percent increase from the 4,836 fatal injuries reported in 2015. The 2016 fatal injury rate, 3.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, was the highest since 2010.

For more information on fatal occupational injuries in the United States, see the Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities homepage. You can get data from our data page and profiles system. We also have interactive charts, a longer set of tables and charts, and state data.

Rate of fatal work injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers by age, 2016
Age Rate
16 to 17 2.1
18 to 19 1.9
20 to 24 2.4
25 to 34 2.5
35 to 44 3.1
45 to 54 3.5
55 to 64 4.7
65 and older 9.6
Top occupational groups for workers age 55 and older who suffered fatal work injuries in 2016
Occupation Number
Transportation and material moving 539
Construction and extraction 277
Management 252
Installation, maintenance, and repair 170
Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance 115
Farming, fishing, and forestry 100
Fatal occupational injuries to workers age 55 and older by event
Event or exposure 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Transportation incident 673 658 659 720 772 773
Falls, slips, and trips 285 295 304 395 344 426
Contact with objects and equipment 236 263 233 250 276 288
Violence and other injuries by persons or animals 203 220 190 195 179 227
Exposure to harmful substances or environments 67 50 68 92 70 90
Fire or explosion 36 32 29 34 33 35

Why This Counts: What Does BLS Know about Certifications and Licenses?

Whether you are an aspiring doctor or lawyer, teacher or barber, chances are you need a license to legally work. Or you may already have a license and are now rushing to get your continuing professional education courses done before the end of the year! Whatever your status, what does BLS know about certifications and licenses and how can the information help?

While BLS and other federal statistical agencies have long produced data on educational attainment, there used to be few public sources of information on nondegree credentials like certifications and licenses. To meet this need, BLS added new questions to the Current Population Survey, the national household survey best known as the source of the official unemployment rate, back in 2015. These data help researchers, policymakers, business owners, workers, and jobseekers better understand how holding a certification or license relates to employment, unemployment, and earnings.

At BLS, we define certifications and licenses as nondegree credentials that show the holder has the skill or knowledge needed to perform a specific job. Certifications come from a nongovernmental body, such as a professional or industry organization. Licenses come from a government agency and show a legal permission to work in an occupation.

In 2016, about 44.5 million people (almost the number of people who live in Spain) held a currently active professional certification or license. People with a certification or license had an unemployment rate of 2.5 percent, compared with 5.6 percent for people without one of these credentials. One-fourth of the employed held a certification or license in 2016.

The prevalence of certifications and licenses varies by a worker’s occupation. In 2016, there were four occupation groups where more than half of workers held a certification or license: healthcare practitioners and technical occupations (77.0 percent); legal occupations (66.8 percent); education, training, and library occupations (55.5 percent); and healthcare support occupations (50.9 percent).

Chart showing percent of workers in each occupational group who had a certification or license in 2016.

Editor’s note: Data for this chart are available in the table below.

We also have information on how much workers with or without a certification or license earn. In 2016, the median weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers with a certification or license was $1,032—35 percent higher than the median for workers without a certification or license ($765). These broad comparisons do not account for other important reasons that may explain differences in earnings, such as educational attainment and a worker’s specific job roles and responsibilities.

Whether you are a jobseeker, business owner, policy maker, or researcher, BLS data on professional certifications and licenses help you understand the important role that these credentials play in the U.S. labor market.

Percent of employed people with a certification or license by occupation, 2016 annual averages
Occupation With a license With a certification
but no license
Healthcare practitioners and technical 72.6% 4.4%
Legal 63.4 3.4
Education, training, and library 53.6 1.9
Healthcare support 47.2 3.6
Community and social services 33.5 5.0
Protective service 36.1 1.6
Personal care and service 27.9 3.1
Architecture and engineering 22.4 4.0
Life, physical, and social science 22.3 3.1
Total, 16 years and over 22.3 2.7
Business and financial operations 20.0 4.0
Installation, maintenance, and repair 18.3 5.3
Management 19.3 3.2
Transportation and material moving 20.7 1.5
Construction and extraction 17.5 2.2
Sales and related 14.3 1.8
Computer and mathematical 6.8 7.4
Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media 8.5 3.1
Production 8.0 2.2
Office and administrative support 8.2 1.4
Farming, fishing, and forestry 8.3 0.8
Food preparation and serving related 6.7 1.0
Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance 6.5 1.1

Looking Under the Hood of Jobs Data: Job Openings and Hires by Firm Size

Let’s not bury the lead. Newly released experimental information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that firms employing 500 workers or more consistently have more job openings and more hires than smaller firms. During the most recent recession, these larger firms cut job openings at a faster pace than did smaller firms. Following the recession, job openings grew more rapidly in larger firms.

Chart showing the number of job openings by firm size from 2000 to 2016

Editor’s note: Data for this chart are available in the table below.

OK, those are the highlights. But maybe you want to know more. Or maybe you have a comment or question. Read on.

Monthly headlines from BLS show the change in the number of jobs and information about the labor force, such as the unemployment rate. For example, employers added 228,000 jobs in November 2017, and the national unemployment rate stood at 4.1 percent. But behind those top-side numbers, there’s a lot going on in the job world. BLS provides much of that detail, including unemployment rates by demographic groups, jobs created by new versus expanding firms, and employment by occupation.

Today we take a look at some experimental information recently released from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. The survey provides monthly information on the number and rate of job openings at the end of the month, as well as job turnover (hires and separations) during the month. For example, at the end of October 2017, employers had 6.0 million job openings. There were 5.6 million workers hired and 5.2 million workers separated during October. And of those separations, quits outnumbered layoffs and discharges by a ratio of 2 to 1 (3.2 million quits, 1.6 million layoffs and discharges).

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey began in 2000. It provides nearly two decades of data that span business cycles, including the moderate recession in the early 2000s and the deep recession in the late 2000s. These monthly reports highlight differences by industry. For example, over the past several years, job openings have outpaced hires in the health care and social assistance, suggesting a continual need for skilled labor. In contrast, hires outpaced job openings in the construction industry, indicating a steady availability of labor.

What effect does firm size have on job openings and labor turnover? To unpack this question, BLS staff developed newly available experimental measures by firm size. A firm is defined as a related set of job sites. A firm may be a single location, such as Joe’s Plumbing Supply. Or a firm may have many different sites across industries and geography, including manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, and multiple retail locations. To develop these firm-level estimates, BLS staff identified entities with multiple locations and used the combined employment to slot firms into size categories. The new information is available for 3 groups: small (1–49 workers), medium (50–499 workers), and large (500 workers or more).

Some highlights from the data:

  • Large firms have twice as many job openings as do small and medium-sized firms.
  • Large firms also have the highest job opening rate, which is the ratio of job openings to the sum of employment plus job openings.
  • The number of hires by firm size is similar to the pattern of job openings; hires in large firms are nearly twice that of small and medium-sized firms.
  • The rate of hires, which compares the number of hires to employment, is about the same across firm size classes, especially in the past few years.

Chart showing the number of hires by firm size from 2000 to 2016.
Editor’s note: Data for this chart are available in the table below.

We want to hear from you. BLS develops experimental measures like these to provide greater understanding of the job market. As we continue to work on these and other measures, we seek your input. Send your questions and comments about the usefulness of these data to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey staff.

Job openings levels by firm size, seasonally adjusted
Month Firm Size 1 (1-49) Firm Size 2 (50-499) Firm Size 3 (500+)
Dec 2000 1,063,970 1,212,812 2,166,647
Jan 2001 1,254,187 1,040,641 2,268,253
Feb 2001 1,150,018 1,001,138 2,330,520
Mar 2001 1,010,503 1,009,600 2,186,925
Apr 2001 998,581 1,025,288 2,321,541
May 2001 1,026,328 957,490 1,969,731
Jun 2001 935,187 944,611 1,972,341
Jul 2001 999,543 1,029,769 1,854,611
Aug 2001 889,501 900,890 1,881,136
Sep 2001 1,024,910 836,926 1,764,339
Oct 2001 888,204 725,598 1,564,310
Nov 2001 758,424 742,852 1,613,718
Dec 2001 802,515 748,965 1,658,384
Jan 2002 819,942 764,312 1,732,144
Feb 2002 656,857 762,218 1,545,264
Mar 2002 824,546 775,262 1,577,612
Apr 2002 692,005 764,940 1,506,129
May 2002 649,226 803,459 1,574,740
Jun 2002 675,642 769,944 1,454,594
Jul 2002 685,787 752,854 1,547,899
Aug 2002 692,592 803,598 1,530,478
Sep 2002 675,723 779,605 1,475,356
Oct 2002 689,451 798,260 1,660,696
Nov 2002 747,380 823,511 1,545,712
Dec 2002 591,276 749,792 1,382,984
Jan 2003 659,814 846,905 1,695,355
Feb 2003 777,288 711,685 1,530,725
Mar 2003 630,879 703,489 1,376,433
Apr 2003 726,806 723,117 1,365,285
May 2003 691,890 690,646 1,440,691
Jun 2003 682,601 765,484 1,493,878
Jul 2003 588,080 756,229 1,457,439
Aug 2003 635,308 754,020 1,513,807
Sep 2003 577,984 743,507 1,512,187
Oct 2003 587,303 829,886 1,413,296
Nov 2003 665,540 763,665 1,531,106
Dec 2003 749,094 773,746 1,524,435
Jan 2004 694,810 797,141 1,522,552
Feb 2004 769,596 786,344 1,543,821
Mar 2004 738,410 791,238 1,543,012
Apr 2004 685,387 823,964 1,690,254
May 2004 761,604 791,158 1,646,144
Jun 2004 665,849 751,611 1,621,204
Jul 2004 851,274 894,772 1,771,733
Aug 2004 748,355 827,281 1,591,622
Sep 2004 837,001 860,695 1,661,575
Oct 2004 731,538 862,201 1,733,695
Nov 2004 705,789 847,738 1,517,289
Dec 2004 847,389 876,217 1,741,215
Jan 2005 709,852 847,541 1,696,328
Feb 2005 808,783 899,841 1,813,490
Mar 2005 788,508 885,484 1,848,385
Apr 2005 903,479 885,600 1,894,028
May 2005 824,299 875,760 1,761,937
Jun 2005 870,511 925,176 1,870,100
Jul 2005 931,449 914,756 1,961,559
Aug 2005 898,673 941,476 1,844,530
Sep 2005 871,357 985,556 1,985,304
Oct 2005 895,342 914,615 2,075,976
Nov 2005 871,046 965,398 2,282,418
Dec 2005 861,935 930,504 2,127,341
Jan 2006 926,197 961,337 1,911,830
Feb 2006 870,674 935,421 2,182,583
Mar 2006 900,388 1,026,440 2,202,735
Apr 2006 880,717 1,040,964 2,159,372
May 2006 814,733 1,039,701 2,156,708
Jun 2006 866,922 1,045,813 2,002,970
Jul 2006 737,882 966,338 1,907,429
Aug 2006 876,173 1,016,973 2,192,267
Sep 2006 916,373 1,011,528 2,120,209
Oct 2006 839,329 1,058,198 2,144,379
Nov 2006 935,772 1,037,996 2,217,716
Dec 2006 856,726 1,041,513 2,177,949
Jan 2007 1,006,703 1,008,318 2,165,823
Feb 2007 981,978 1,095,137 2,069,850
Mar 2007 982,120 1,083,153 2,182,194
Apr 2007 869,195 1,175,773 2,075,431
May 2007 824,392 1,111,851 2,178,150
Jun 2007 1,026,474 1,033,211 2,150,486
Jul 2007 931,291 995,952 2,052,904
Aug 2007 944,960 1,014,174 2,094,487
Sep 2007 1,066,472 1,032,697 1,980,685
Oct 2007 972,154 970,969 1,913,129
Nov 2007 801,655 1,093,272 2,006,124
Dec 2007 827,479 1,097,070 2,015,637
Jan 2008 838,863 1,078,494 1,894,825
Feb 2008 761,539 1,009,438 1,970,060
Mar 2008 774,405 928,884 1,920,134
Apr 2008 710,503 890,409 1,929,298
May 2008 710,516 961,534 1,793,445
Jun 2008 638,053 883,051 1,861,865
Jul 2008 701,938 886,335 1,804,058
Aug 2008 633,271 783,453 1,761,845
Sep 2008 623,029 723,106 1,530,778
Oct 2008 581,304 773,531 1,461,046
Nov 2008 606,081 660,174 1,378,183
Dec 2008 622,312 673,974 1,360,074
Jan 2009 495,874 569,429 1,320,120
Feb 2009 587,551 606,813 1,264,330
Mar 2009 497,280 576,812 1,029,149
Apr 2009 530,082 443,185 865,437
May 2009 526,902 526,912 1,012,171
Jun 2009 542,708 536,379 1,013,176
Jul 2009 444,382 493,845 954,306
Aug 2009 428,605 513,075 1,010,607
Sep 2009 542,212 574,082 1,108,933
Oct 2009 501,879 510,090 959,637
Nov 2009 536,770 473,118 1,086,248
Dec 2009 457,470 575,790 1,145,838
Jan 2010 643,666 596,114 1,032,360
Feb 2010 580,156 536,242 1,149,156
Mar 2010 502,226 558,306 1,239,238
Apr 2010 592,456 631,601 1,203,511
May 2010 639,745 537,033 1,282,322
Jun 2010 533,152 599,522 1,202,898
Jul 2010 597,570 607,774 1,359,417
Aug 2010 599,959 646,695 1,319,523
Sep 2010 531,391 595,451 1,331,049
Oct 2010 593,875 616,584 1,348,310
Nov 2010 643,919 659,356 1,496,531
Dec 2010 558,604 582,033 1,418,940
Jan 2011 506,982 659,392 1,499,176
Feb 2011 544,751 706,101 1,519,162
Mar 2011 584,823 727,292 1,547,740
Apr 2011 549,428 711,284 1,595,959
May 2011 567,386 682,449 1,611,429
Jun 2011 544,848 690,205 1,657,846
Jul 2011 605,337 767,058 1,619,459
Aug 2011 556,717 677,988 1,648,114
Sep 2011 614,540 778,966 1,731,454
Oct 2011 574,275 746,781 1,725,148
Nov 2011 577,001 791,911 1,558,570
Dec 2011 638,596 810,484 1,611,179
Jan 2012 856,476 852,412 1,641,457
Feb 2012 647,857 790,085 1,731,296
Mar 2012 664,828 844,686 1,906,753
Apr 2012 803,914 809,055 1,514,008
May 2012 683,030 808,866 1,790,451
Jun 2012 752,012 831,447 1,765,436
Jul 2012 584,262 817,409 1,796,499
Aug 2012 626,419 886,155 1,694,821
Sep 2012 694,209 800,200 1,654,448
Oct 2012 645,981 826,044 1,854,123
Nov 2012 689,248 821,095 1,838,717
Dec 2012 609,350 797,497 1,909,677
Jan 2013 605,325 732,763 2,107,198
Feb 2013 775,285 897,160 1,964,961
Mar 2013 740,705 845,484 1,879,283
Apr 2013 655,993 797,119 2,017,197
May 2013 712,099 886,951 1,791,954
Jun 2013 751,267 824,265 1,921,027
Jul 2013 759,741 823,744 1,875,751
Aug 2013 695,439 848,376 1,976,546
Sep 2013 759,238 777,782 2,131,494
Oct 2013 775,829 890,226 2,031,372
Nov 2013 665,386 906,564 2,065,046
Dec 2013 863,397 850,283 1,902,300
Jan 2014 738,287 868,753 1,955,377
Feb 2014 719,973 894,977 2,131,462
Mar 2014 724,779 908,744 2,140,206
Apr 2014 672,254 968,735 2,226,002
May 2014 897,433 1,021,611 2,100,846
Jun 2014 809,532 1,065,672 2,279,388
Jul 2014 843,835 1,045,672 2,201,345
Aug 2014 1,023,698 1,076,735 2,405,701
Sep 2014 848,249 1,082,785 2,271,364
Oct 2014 925,023 1,112,348 2,407,717
Nov 2014 913,184 1,071,576 2,471,944
Dec 2014 1,020,488 1,045,791 2,519,759
Jan 2015 978,576 1,133,080 2,406,159
Feb 2015 1,034,832 1,137,611 2,474,784
Mar 2015 1,069,993 1,123,116 2,497,265
Apr 2015 1,127,145 1,124,431 2,752,632
May 2015 912,763 1,193,958 2,716,834
Jun 2015 922,279 1,148,527 2,670,402
Jul 2015 1,098,547 1,283,295 2,934,229
Aug 2015 1,081,112 1,179,710 2,696,909
Sep 2015 1,009,519 1,227,686 2,769,545
Oct 2015 1,126,124 1,179,108 2,681,410
Nov 2015 1,107,200 1,149,924 2,799,185
Dec 2015 1,089,582 1,265,657 2,777,688
Jan 2016 1,072,685 1,183,639 2,832,936
Feb 2016 1,200,143 1,183,363 2,836,629
Mar 2016 1,259,657 1,245,163 2,897,275
Apr 2016 1,031,362 1,166,838 2,759,454
May 2016 1,104,170 1,160,643 2,838,929
Jun 2016 1,085,279 1,157,550 2,818,792
Jul 2016 1,146,899 1,197,112 2,871,515
Aug 2016 1,010,185 1,167,324 2,885,284
Sep 2016 1,096,455 1,213,755 2,939,373
Oct 2016 1,074,446 1,186,426 2,853,713
Nov 2016 1,170,857 1,278,675 2,920,800
Dec 2016 1,099,875 1,251,094 2,843,566
Hires levels by firm size, seasonally adjusted
Month Firm Size 1 (1-49) Firm Size 2 (50-499) Firm Size 3 (500+)
Dec 2000 1,318,760 1,465,514 2,226,675
Jan 2001 1,446,901 1,367,157 2,489,504
Feb 2001 1,305,908 1,567,814 2,318,121
Mar 2001 1,353,462 1,552,926 2,422,797
Apr 2001 1,426,138 1,359,579 2,351,722
May 2001 1,370,351 1,395,206 2,350,992
Jun 2001 1,336,154 1,399,976 2,094,197
Jul 2001 1,293,642 1,454,056 2,076,131
Aug 2001 1,302,158 1,337,434 2,047,302
Sep 2001 1,281,957 1,384,610 1,967,274
Oct 2001 1,353,912 1,338,900 2,011,421
Nov 2001 1,334,527 1,257,781 1,941,739
Dec 2001 1,307,061 1,295,405 1,881,384
Jan 2002 1,279,438 1,287,183 2,021,261
Feb 2002 1,325,149 1,303,163 1,997,492
Mar 2002 1,146,362 1,277,928 1,965,695
Apr 2002 1,235,074 1,346,882 2,001,240
May 2002 1,271,869 1,358,353 1,991,768
Jun 2002 1,337,649 1,346,893 1,854,062
Jul 2002 1,427,260 1,308,277 1,916,786
Aug 2002 1,337,754 1,280,995 1,888,414
Sep 2002 1,388,080 1,249,723 1,895,845
Oct 2002 1,317,940 1,245,359 1,904,631
Nov 2002 1,328,551 1,249,760 1,942,073
Dec 2002 1,403,834 1,263,550 1,973,256
Jan 2003 1,425,007 1,301,127 1,889,634
Feb 2003 1,355,952 1,218,959 1,896,054
Mar 2003 1,257,855 1,151,789 1,798,934
Apr 2003 1,378,746 1,221,686 1,690,254
May 2003 1,298,053 1,219,640 1,793,446
Jun 2003 1,344,844 1,226,149 1,876,850
Jul 2003 1,369,431 1,195,969 1,812,395
Aug 2003 1,390,340 1,217,625 1,823,133
Sep 2003 1,391,621 1,285,592 1,895,176
Oct 2003 1,372,786 1,277,518 1,891,770
Nov 2003 1,312,049 1,284,619 1,871,773
Dec 2003 1,460,039 1,282,030 1,899,105
Jan 2004 1,404,237 1,273,957 1,866,649
Feb 2004 1,377,906 1,268,343 1,792,621
Mar 2004 1,533,492 1,365,907 1,971,024
Apr 2004 1,417,666 1,352,287 2,050,848
May 2004 1,380,450 1,277,778 1,959,227
Jun 2004 1,435,713 1,295,345 1,928,735
Jul 2004 1,382,952 1,340,491 1,856,892
Aug 2004 1,408,878 1,372,834 1,968,591
Sep 2004 1,403,414 1,355,400 1,895,594
Oct 2004 1,540,296 1,328,544 1,892,138
Nov 2004 1,486,331 1,346,403 1,905,103
Dec 2004 1,439,186 1,371,908 2,059,142
Jan 2005 1,440,918 1,427,256 2,071,931
Feb 2005 1,547,511 1,355,205 2,103,535
Mar 2005 1,512,477 1,369,490 2,029,732
Apr 2005 1,515,338 1,369,141 2,071,545
May 2005 1,527,484 1,406,320 2,022,931
Jun 2005 1,497,350 1,435,937 2,128,139
Jul 2005 1,391,798 1,318,066 2,193,308
Aug 2005 1,564,504 1,398,008 2,126,327
Sep 2005 1,526,094 1,491,917 2,045,598
Oct 2005 1,428,827 1,302,892 1,965,450
Nov 2005 1,502,986 1,374,253 2,058,195
Dec 2005 1,356,557 1,376,234 1,990,594
Jan 2006 1,410,289 1,432,683 2,054,309
Feb 2006 1,460,785 1,447,390 2,096,165
Mar 2006 1,407,262 1,447,276 2,095,818
Apr 2006 1,450,448 1,413,888 2,065,425
May 2006 1,484,521 1,439,687 2,224,986
Jun 2006 1,419,368 1,353,346 2,132,509
Jul 2006 1,452,650 1,423,682 2,040,980
Aug 2006 1,405,847 1,380,246 2,052,351
Sep 2006 1,358,985 1,316,145 2,073,467
Oct 2006 1,331,918 1,398,602 2,144,326
Nov 2006 1,446,960 1,387,794 2,229,577
Dec 2006 1,420,679 1,370,741 2,154,608
Jan 2007 1,409,639 1,287,272 2,115,281
Feb 2007 1,393,078 1,294,136 2,202,493
Mar 2007 1,411,430 1,370,502 2,178,838
Apr 2007 1,309,820 1,373,503 2,111,258
May 2007 1,410,149 1,352,687 2,181,448
Jun 2007 1,333,598 1,389,660 2,037,214
Jul 2007 1,324,344 1,343,331 2,045,869
Aug 2007 1,337,920 1,370,599 1,992,727
Sep 2007 1,355,047 1,309,281 2,104,084
Oct 2007 1,383,515 1,395,818 2,027,436
Nov 2007 1,281,548 1,363,251 2,099,231
Dec 2007 1,309,850 1,288,603 2,019,383
Jan 2008 1,217,771 1,269,877 2,023,082
Feb 2008 1,262,912 1,291,378 2,015,008
Mar 2008 1,263,120 1,239,302 1,857,792
Apr 2008 1,231,862 1,215,344 2,160,571
May 2008 1,236,957 1,230,516 1,823,008
Jun 2008 1,273,816 1,219,170 1,896,089
Jul 2008 1,187,865 1,150,430 1,816,436
Aug 2008 1,269,645 1,155,033 1,813,791
Sep 2008 1,089,156 1,111,869 1,772,296
Oct 2008 1,201,954 1,106,524 1,818,684
Nov 2008 1,110,536 992,021 1,525,636
Dec 2008 1,209,249 1,057,698 1,600,882
Jan 2009 1,225,559 940,159 1,634,854
Feb 2009 1,243,700 986,210 1,429,135
Mar 2009 1,150,065 887,705 1,332,012
Apr 2009 1,220,912 869,669 1,361,420
May 2009 1,136,971 889,487 1,493,545
Jun 2009 1,097,273 865,400 1,328,077
Jul 2009 1,320,304 893,442 1,308,501
Aug 2009 1,114,072 880,755 1,419,193
Sep 2009 1,185,031 936,367 1,418,408
Oct 2009 1,238,379 933,386 1,239,511
Nov 2009 1,115,148 971,214 1,501,134
Dec 2009 1,226,484 919,104 1,434,415
Jan 2010 1,170,752 973,298 1,373,246
Feb 2010 1,087,871 962,895 1,420,048
Mar 2010 1,158,651 986,494 1,529,647
Apr 2010 1,255,357 1,025,533 1,419,978
May 2010 1,116,114 963,500 1,530,405
Jun 2010 1,121,494 1,002,751 1,571,730
Jul 2010 1,162,768 1,046,762 1,595,877
Aug 2010 1,138,075 930,594 1,594,389
Sep 2010 1,111,015 997,738 1,576,427
Oct 2010 1,137,516 999,908 1,609,164
Nov 2010 1,120,077 1,055,164 1,605,815
Dec 2010 1,160,044 1,075,095 1,607,322
Jan 2011 1,048,173 1,017,702 1,574,526
Feb 2011 1,192,245 996,951 1,688,950
Mar 2011 1,169,580 1,072,233 1,685,502
Apr 2011 1,131,876 1,119,162 1,671,499
May 2011 1,106,814 1,020,239 1,750,821
Jun 2011 1,216,172 1,035,178 1,756,111
Jul 2011 1,109,922 998,628 1,740,574
Aug 2011 1,145,240 1,079,415 1,644,789
Sep 2011 1,195,530 1,101,563 1,682,709
Oct 2011 1,086,715 1,019,294 1,811,912
Nov 2011 1,201,244 1,063,548 1,698,367
Dec 2011 1,136,007 1,064,969 1,698,529
Jan 2012 1,193,211 1,109,032 1,675,329
Feb 2012 1,178,924 1,045,587 1,920,240
Mar 2012 1,162,416 1,067,826 1,850,816
Apr 2012 1,190,873 1,084,135 1,719,193
May 2012 1,139,691 1,138,575 1,872,741
Jun 2012 1,154,599 1,165,322 1,793,172
Jul 2012 1,089,151 1,032,845 1,765,991
Aug 2012 1,112,769 1,152,600 1,816,371
Sep 2012 1,118,053 1,103,702 1,742,666
Oct 2012 1,065,148 989,872 1,906,174
Nov 2012 1,212,687 1,115,565 1,819,064
Dec 2012 1,136,490 1,080,390 1,871,245
Jan 2013 1,121,119 997,951 1,958,366
Feb 2013 1,238,795 1,125,022 1,892,729
Mar 2013 1,107,566 1,101,311 1,752,245
Apr 2013 1,052,228 1,093,062 2,080,310
May 2013 1,250,398 1,154,137 1,829,976
Jun 2013 1,148,502 1,072,681 1,988,865
Jul 2013 1,147,374 1,104,954 1,918,433
Aug 2013 1,208,593 1,155,864 2,036,422
Sep 2013 1,177,088 1,079,386 2,113,766
Oct 2013 1,110,623 1,143,208 1,839,957
Nov 2013 1,073,131 1,065,698 2,167,660
Dec 2013 1,106,693 1,074,856 2,039,483
Jan 2014 1,104,023 1,154,049 2,028,844
Feb 2014 1,055,989 1,148,844 2,122,444
Mar 2014 1,122,872 1,148,640 2,169,515
Apr 2014 1,042,346 1,119,847 2,143,104
May 2014 1,108,411 1,173,336 2,109,039
Jun 2014 1,083,067 1,211,803 2,170,004
Jul 2014 1,240,653 1,251,579 2,172,983
Aug 2014 1,189,251 1,175,148 2,206,985
Sep 2014 1,226,232 1,190,158 2,254,999
Oct 2014 1,207,446 1,312,524 2,231,064
Nov 2014 1,218,237 1,225,569 2,312,003
Dec 2014 1,267,948 1,232,018 2,284,648
Jan 2015 1,213,062 1,228,166 2,272,373
Feb 2015 1,250,159 1,263,418 2,126,148
Mar 2015 1,231,678 1,241,767 2,279,434
Apr 2015 1,245,923 1,264,923 2,264,581
May 2015 1,291,302 1,207,006 2,302,261
Jun 2015 1,289,104 1,271,444 2,259,159
Jul 2015 1,210,158 1,243,010 2,271,680
Aug 2015 1,275,162 1,237,645 2,271,298
Sep 2015 1,268,954 1,248,053 2,245,990
Oct 2015 1,315,735 1,255,112 2,338,626
Nov 2015 1,246,228 1,243,741 2,414,955
Dec 2015 1,270,772 1,331,290 2,524,798
Jan 2016 1,253,571 1,222,686 2,334,028
Feb 2016 1,310,998 1,271,022 2,471,003
Mar 2016 1,270,692 1,260,761 2,389,419
Apr 2016 1,163,963 1,233,095 2,307,158
May 2016 1,187,302 1,261,620 2,345,003
Jun 2016 1,237,558 1,301,508 2,281,249
Jul 2016 1,254,032 1,229,814 2,398,035
Aug 2016 1,212,786 1,316,852 2,313,075
Sep 2016 1,104,791 1,251,080 2,324,681
Oct 2016 1,243,323 1,291,155 2,331,589
Nov 2016 1,283,522 1,349,233 2,237,211
Dec 2016 1,296,891 1,277,402 2,311,098

Most Popular Items in the Occupational Outlook Handbook

Interested in becoming a detective or a veterinarian or a software developer? You are not alone. These occupations are among the most visited pages of the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook, our online career information guide.

On October 24, BLS released the 2016–26 Employment Projections and incorporated these projections into updates of the Handbook, which features 325 occupational profiles. Think you know everything a doctor or a police officer does from watching reruns of “Grey’s Anatomy” or “Law and Order: SVU”? Think again. The BLS profiles discuss what workers do in an occupation, the education and training needed to work in an occupation, the pay, the job outlook, and other topics.

Just over one-third of all visits to the BLS website are to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, making it our most popular product. Here is a list of the top 10 most viewed profiles over the past year.

Rank Profile name 2016 Employment Employment change, 2016–26 Percent employment change, 2016–26 Typical education 2016 Median Wage
1 Physicians and Surgeons 713,800 106,500 15% Doctoral or professional degree >=$208,000
2 Registered Nurses 2,955,200 437,000 15% Bachelor’s degree $68,450
3 Police and Detectives 807,000 53,400 7% High school diploma $61,600
4 Lawyers 792,500 74,800 9% Doctoral or professional degree $118,160
5 Accountants and Auditors 1,397,700 140,300 10% Bachelor’s degree $68,150
6 Software Developers 1,256,200 299,500 24% Bachelor’s degree $102,280
7 Psychologists 166,600 22,600 14% Doctoral or professional degree $75,230
8 Veterinarians 79,600 14,400 18% Doctoral or professional degree $88,770
9 Physical Therapists 239,800 60,000 25% Doctoral or professional degree $85,400
10 Military Careers 2,100,000 High school diploma
Note: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not make projections or collect wage data for military occupations. Employment is from the Defense Manpower Data Center.

These occupations have some characteristics in common.

  • Most are well known and involve contact with the public.
  • Most require college or graduate education.
  • All are high paying.
  • Most are large occupations, although not all are among the fastest growing.

Most of us have some idea what workers in these occupations do. Either we come in contact with them on a regular basis (like doctors) or we see them on TV or in the movies (like lawyers). And while there haven’t been a lot of movies made about software developers, millions of people every day use many of their products, like mobile phone apps.

Many of the most popular occupations require a lot of education. Half require a doctoral or professional degree. In contrast, fewer than one in ten occupations across the economy requires that much education. Only two occupations on the list require a high school diploma.

The top ranked occupational profile, physicians and surgeons, is among the highest paid occupations. The rest of the list includes occupations that pay well above the 2016 median wage of $37,040.

Although nearly all the top ten profiles are projected to grow faster than average (7.4 percent), only physical therapists and software developers are also among the fastest growing occupations. Other than veterinarians, all employ over 100,000 workers, and four employ more than 1 million workers each.

Not interested in becoming an accountant or a psychologist? There are over 300 more occupational profiles available for you to explore.

Labor Day 2017 Fast Facts

Since 1884, ten years before President Grover Cleveland signed the law designating “Labor Day” as the first Monday in September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has been providing gold-standard data for and about American workers.

In honor of Labor Day, let’s take a look at some fast facts we’ve compiled that show the current picture of our labor market. 

Working

Working or Looking for Work

  • The civilian labor force participation rate—the share of the population working or looking for work—was 62.9 percent in August. The rate has generally been trending down since the early 2000s, although it has leveled off in recent years.

Not Working

  • The unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in August. The rate has shown little movement in recent months after declining earlier in the year. The last time the unemployment rate was lower was in 2000 and early 2001.
  • In August, there were 1.7 million long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more). This represented 24.7 percent of the unemployed, down from a peak of 45.5 percent in April 2010 but still above the 16-percent share seen in late 2006 and 2007.
  • Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for teenagers was 13.6 percent in August, while the rates were 4.1 percent for adult men and 4.0 percent for adult women. The unemployment rate was 7.7 percent for Blacks or African Americans, 5.2 percent for Hispanics or Latinos, 4.0 percent for Asians, and 3.9 percent for Whites. 

Job Openings

Pay and Benefits

  • Average weekly earnings rose by 2.8 percent between July 2016 and July 2017; adjusted for inflation, real average weekly earnings are up 1.1 percent during this period.
  • Paid leave benefits are available to a majority of private industry workers, where the access rates were 68 percent for sick leave, 76 percent for vacation, and 77 percent for holidays in March 2017.
  • Nearly half (49 percent) of private industry workers participated in employer-sponsored medical care benefits in March 2017.

Productivity

  • Labor productivity in nonfarm businesses increased 0.9 percent in the second quarter of 2017. Although productivity is growing at a historically slow pace since the Great Recession, the manufacturing sector recently posted the strongest productivity growth in 21 quarters, growing 2.5 percent in the second quarter of 2017. 

Safety and Health

Education

  • Occupations that typically require a bachelor’s degree for entry made up 21 percent of employment. This educational category includes registered nurses, teachers at the kindergarten through secondary levels, and many management, business and financial operations, computer, and engineering occupations.
  • For 11 of the 15 occupations projected to grow the fastest between 2014 and 2024, some postsecondary education is typically required for entry.

Unionization

Work Stoppages

  • Over the past four decades, major work stoppages (a strike or lockout) declined approximately 90 percent. From 1977 to 1986 there were 1,446 major work stoppages, while in 2007–16, there were 143.

From an American worker’s first job to retirement and everything in between, BLS has a stat for that! Want to learn more? Follow us on Twitter @BLS_gov.