The 30 most common jobs in America

Posted at 9:04 PM, Apr 14, 2016


As the needs of industry change, so too does the commonality of U.S. jobs. In certain sectors of the labor force, millions of Americans work the same positions. However, just because a job is common doesn’t mean there isn’t continued demand. Many of these positions are essential parts in the machinery of the U.S. economy.

Some of the most common positions also make lists of jobs crucial to America or the most meaningful occupations. The food industry, one of the top providers of common jobs, has been called “the most important industry in today’s America.” Although these occupations are common, they are by no means trivial. From sales to education, these industries and the workers within them are the foundation of a strong economic future.

In order to determine the most common jobs in America, the data scientists at CareerTrends used occupational employment statistics released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on March 30, 2016. The list is ranked based on employment numbers. We provide context for these positions with average salary data and descriptions used by the BLS.

#30. Maids

Current Employment: 926,240
Mean Salary: $22,990
Category: Cleaning and Maintenance

Description: Perform any combination of light cleaning duties to maintain private households or commercial establishments, such as hotels and hospitals, in a clean and orderly manner. Duties may include making beds, replenishing linens, cleaning rooms and halls and vacuuming.

#29. Online Merchants

Current Employment: 926,610
Mean Salary: $73,480
Category: Business and Finance

Description: Conduct retail activities of businesses operating exclusively online. May perform duties such as preparing business strategies, buying merchandise, managing inventory, implementing marketing activities, fulfilling and shipping online orders and balancing financial records.

#28. High School Teachers

Current Employment: 962,820
Mean Salary: $60,440
Category: Education

Description: Teach students in one or more subjects, such as English, mathematics or social studies at the secondary level in public or private schools. May be designated according to subject matter specialty.

#27. Receptionists

Current Employment: 975,890
Mean Salary: $28,430
Category: Office and Administrative Support

Description: Answer inquiries and provide information to the general public, customers, visitors and other interested parties regarding activities conducted at establishments and locations of departments, offices and employees within the organization.

#26. Security Guards

Current Employment: 1,097,660
Mean Salary: $28,460
Category: Protective Services

Description: Guard, patrol or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence or infractions of rules. May operate X-ray and metal detector equipment.

#25. Team Assemblers

Current Employment: 1,115,510
Mean Salary: $31,560
Category: Production

Description: Work as part of a team having responsibility for assembling an entire product or component of a product. Team assemblers can perform all tasks conducted by the team in the assembly process and rotate through all or most of them rather than being assigned to a specific task on a permanent basis. May participate in making management decisions affecting the work. Includes team leaders who work as part of the team.

#24. Restaurant Cooks

Current Employment: 1,150,760
Mean Salary: $24,430
Category: Food

Description: Prepare, season and cook dishes such as soups, meats, vegetables or desserts in restaurants. May order supplies, keep records and accounts, price items on menu or plan menu.

#23. Retail Worker Supervisors

Current Employment: 1,193,850
Mean Salary: $42,900
Category: Sales

Description: Directly supervise and coordinate activities of retail sales workers in an establishment or department. Duties may include management functions, such as purchasing, budgeting, accounting and personnel work, in addition to supervisory duties.

#22. Accountants and Auditors

Current Employment: 1,226,910
Mean Salary: $75,280
Category: Business and Finance

Description: Examine, analyze and interpret accounting records to prepare financial statements, give advice or audit and evaluate statements prepared by others. Install or advise on systems of recording costs or other financial and budgetary data.

#21. Teacher Assistants

Current Employment: 1,228,440
Mean Salary: $26,550
Category: Education

Description: Perform duties that are instructional in nature or deliver direct services to students or parents. Serve in a position for which a teacher has ultimate responsibility for the design and implementation of educational programs and services.

#20. General Maintenance Workers

Current Employment: 1,314,560
Mean Salary: $38,950
Category: Installation, Maintenance and Repair

Description: Perform work involving the skills of two or more maintenance or craft occupations to keep machines, mechanical equipment or the structure of an establishment in repair. Duties may involve pipe fitting, boiler making, insulating, welding, machining, carpentry, repairing electrical or mechanical equipment, installing, aligning and balancing new equipment and repairing buildings, floors or stairs.

#19. Personal Care Aides

Current Employment: 1,369,230
Mean Salary: $21,790
Category: Personal Care and Service

Description: Assist the elderly, convalescents or persons with disabilities with daily living activities at the person’s home or in a care facility. Duties performed at a place of residence may include keeping house (making beds, doing laundry, washing dishes) and preparing meals. May provide assistance at non-residential care facilities. May advise families, the elderly, convalescents and persons with disabilities regarding such things as nutrition, cleanliness and household activities.

#18. Elementary School Teachers

Current Employment: 1,381,430
Mean Salary: $57,730
Category: Education

Description: Teach students basic academic, social and other formative skills in public or private schools at the elementary level

#17. Manufacturing Sales Representatives

Current Employment: 1,409,550
Mean Salary: $66,790
Category: Sales

Description: Sell goods for wholesalers or manufacturers to businesses or groups of individuals. Work requires substantial knowledge of items sold.

#16. Nursing Assistants

Current Employment: 1,420,570
Mean Salary: $26,820
Category: Healthcare Support

Description: Provide basic patient care under direction of nursing staff. Perform duties such as feed, bathe, dress, groom or move patients or change linens. May transfer or transport patients. Includes nursing care attendants, nursing aides and nursing attendants.

#15. Office Supervisors

Current Employment: 1,424,450
Mean Salary: $56,170
Category: Office and Administrative Support

Description: Directly supervise and coordinate the activities of clerical and administrative support workers.

#14. Accounting Clerks

Current Employment: 1,580,220
Mean Salary: $38,990
Category: Office and Administrative Support

Description: Compute, classify and record numerical data to keep financial records complete. Perform any combination of routine calculating, posting and verifying duties to obtain primary financial data for use in maintaining accounting records. May also check the accuracy of figures, calculations and postings pertaining to business transactions recorded by other workers.

#13. Truck Drivers

Current Employment: 1,678,280
Mean Salary: $42,500
Category: Transportation

Description: Drive a tractor-trailer combination or a truck with a capacity of at least 26,000 pounds Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW). May be required to unload truck. Requires commercial driver’s license.

#12. Stock Clerks

Current Employment: 1,934,060
Mean Salary: $25,940
Category: Office and Administrative Support

Description: Receive, store and issue sales floor merchandise, materials, equipment and other items from stockroom, warehouse or storage yard to fill shelves, racks, tables or customers’ orders. May mark prices on merchandise and set up sales displays.

#11. Operations Managers

Current Employment: 2,145,140
Mean Salary: $119,460
Category: Management

Description: Plan, direct or coordinate the operations of public or private sector organizations. Duties and responsibilities include formulating policies, managing daily operations and planning the use of materials and human resources, but are too diverse and general in nature to be classified in any one functional area of management or administration, such as personnel, purchasing or administrative services.

#10. Janitors

Current Employment: 2,146,880
Mean Salary: $26,180
Category: Cleaning and Maintenance

Description: Keep buildings in clean and orderly condition. Perform heavy cleaning duties, such as cleaning floors, shampooing rugs, washing walls and glass and removing rubbish. Duties may include tending furnace and boiler, performing routine maintenance activities, notifying management of need for repairs and cleaning snow or debris from sidewalk.

#9. Administrative Assistants

Current Employment: 2,281,120
Mean Salary: $35,200
Category: Office and Administrative Support

Description: Perform routine clerical and administrative functions such as drafting correspondence, scheduling appointments, organizing and maintaining paper and electronic files or providing information to callers.

#8. Material Handlers

Current Employment: 2,487,680
Mean Salary: $27,840
Category: Transportation

Description: Manually move freight, stock or other materials or perform other general labor. Includes all manual laborers not elsewhere classified.

#7. Waiters and Waitresses

Current Employment: 2,505,630
Mean Salary: $23,020
Category: Food

Description: Take orders and serve food and beverages to patrons at tables in dining establishments.

#6. Customer Service Representatives

Current Employment: 2,595,990
Mean Salary: $34,560
Category: Office and Administrative Support

Description: Interact with customers to provide information in response to inquiries about products and services and to handle and resolve complaints.

#5. Registered Nurses

Current Employment: 2,745,910
Mean Salary: $71,000
Category: Medicine and Healthcare Technology

Description: Assess patient health problems and needs, develop and implement nursing care plans and maintain medical records. Administer nursing care to ill, injured, convalescent or disabled patients. May advise patients on health maintenance and disease prevention or provide case management. Licensing or registration required.

#4. General Office Clerks

Current Employment: 2,944,420
Mean Salary: $31,890
Category: Office and Administrative Support

Description: Perform duties too varied and diverse to be classified in any specific office clerical occupation, requiring knowledge of office systems and procedures. Clerical duties may be assigned in accordance with the office procedures of individual establishments and may include a combination of answering telephones, bookkeeping, typing or word processing, stenography, office machine operation and filing.

#3. Food Preparation & Serving Workers

Current Employment: 3,216,460
Mean Salary: $19,710
Category: Food

Description: Perform duties which combine preparing and serving food and nonalcoholic beverages.

#2. Cashiers

Current Employment: 3,478,420
Mean Salary: $20,990
Category: Sales

Description: Receive and disburse money in establishments other than financial institutions. May use electronic scanners, cash registers or related equipment. May process credit or debit card transactions and validate checks.

#1. Retail Salespersons

Current Employment: 4,612,510
Mean Salary: $26,340
Category: Sales

Description: Sell merchandise, such as furniture, motor vehicles, appliances or apparel to consumers.

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