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Visualizing the American Workforce as 100 People

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Reimagining the American workforce as 100 people and categorizing them by jobs, positions and sectors.

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Visualizing the American Workforce as 100 People

In 2022, the U.S. population stood at 333 million. Of that, roughly 60% were employed in various jobs, positions, and sectors in the U.S. economy.

But where did all these people work? What jobs did they do and what positions did they hold? Where do most Americans do their nine-to-five?

Using data from the National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates (2022) put out by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), we reimagine the employed American workforce as only 100 people, to find out answers.

Interestingly, the data contains a mix of information demarcations. Some are job-specific (type of work), some are based on position (like Management), and some are broken down by industry (Transport and Health).

The Most Common Jobs In the U.S.

By far, most of the American workforce (13 out of 100) are employed in Office & Administrative work. This includes a mind-boggling variety of jobs: receptionists, payroll clerks, secretaries, proof-readers, administrative assistants, and customer service representatives to name a few.

Notably, any sort of management role is absent from this, as well as any other job categories, since the BLS categorizes managers in their own class.

The industry which employs the second largest group of people is Health, accounting for 11 people from the 100. This category is a combination of two sectors listed in the original dataset (healthcare practitioners and healthcare support) and covers the entire industry: from physicians, surgeons, veterinarians, nurses, and therapists to technicians, assistants, orderlies, and home and personal care aides.

Here’s a quick look at all the major sectors most of America’s workforce actually works in.

RankJobsPeopleExamples
1.Office & Admin13Receptionists, Clerks, Customer service, Secretaries.
2.Health11Doctors, Nurses, Paramedics, Vets, Orderlies, Personal care aides.
3.Transport9Warehouse workers, Packagers, Pilots, Ambulance, Bus, Truck, Taxi drivers, Ship captains.
4.Sales9Sales representatives, Counter clerks.
5.Food8Food preparers & servers, Bartenders, Dishwashers, Hosts.
6.Management6Legislators, Chief executives, Directors, General & Operations managers.
7.Business & Finance6Accountants, Auditors, Financial analysts, Logisticians.
8.Manufacturing6Factory workers, Gas fitters, Machine operators, Cobblers, Tailors, Barbers.
9.Education6Teachers (all fields, all levels).
10.Construction & Extraction4Stone / brick / block / cement masons. Construction laborers. Roofers, Plumbers, Electricians, Mining workers.
11.Mechanics & Installation4Auto mechanic, Farm equipment mechanic, Home appliance mechanic, Locksmiths.
12.Data & Tech3Information analyst, Database architect, Software & Web
developers, Data scientists, Mathematicians, Computer support.
13.Custodial3Cleaning, Groundskeeping, Landscaping, Housekeeping.
14.Protection2Cops, Firefighters, Security guards, Lifeguards, Correctional officers.
15.Hospitality2Animal trainers / caretakers. Ushers / attendants. Makeup artists. Concierge. Exercise trainers.
16.Architecture & Engineering2All engineers and architects (excluding the information industry).
17.Community & Social Service2Social workers, Therapists (counsellors) & Religious work.
18.Arts, Media, & Sport1Fine artists, Designers, Actors, Athletes, Journalists, Writers, Authors, Musicians.
19.Science1All scientists (not engineers).
20.Legal1Lawyers, Judges, Paralegals, Mediators.
21.Farming, Fishing, & Forestry1Farmers, logging workers.
Total100

The third most common job is actually a tie between Transport—cargo moving workers, pilots, truck drivers—and Sales—retail and industry sales agents, counter clerks—with both sectors employing nine of the 100 people. In the Sales category, two of the nine people are cashiers.

Ranked fifth is Food, with eight people, ranging from private chefs to serving staff at fast food restaurants.

Another six all belong in some kind of Management role (across industry, and including legislators) with two of those six being “top level executives” like a CEO, a general manager, a mayor, or university president. Management shares its spot with Business & Finance, Manufacturing, and Education, all at six each.

The following jobs or industries also employ the same number of people:

  • Construction & Extraction along with Mechanics & Installation, at four each.
  • Data & Tech, with Custodial jobs, with three each.
  • Protection, Hospitality, Architecture & Engineering, and Social work, all at two each.
  • Artists & Athletes, Scientists, Legal, and Farming, Fishing & Forestry are all one each.

Quirks of the Job Data

From the numbers, some fascinating nuances of the American workforce are revealed. For example, there are more cashiers (2) in the economy than artists, writers, designers & athletes (1). There are the same number of customer service representatives as the entire Scientific and Legal fields put together (2).

But perhaps the most interesting quirk comes from how few people are employed in the Farming, Fishing & Forestry industry, a critical primary sector. In raw data, the BLS estimates only slightly more than 450,000 farm, fish & forestry workers.

Importantly, it’s worth noting the BLS only collects data from “nonfarm” establishments, explaining the low estimate for their category, which is almost one-sixth of what the USDA estimates. Please see the data note at the end of this article for a full explanation.

Which Jobs Have the Highest Wages in the U.S.?

Meanwhile, the top 20 highest paid jobs (by annual average wages) all belong to doctors (usually specialists or surgeons), with two exceptions: CEOs and athletes.

The lowest-paid jobs are a mix of entertainers, and service and retail staff.

As a broader category, however, Management makes the most money, followed by Legal and then Tech. Workers in Food, Health Support, and Custodial jobs have the lowest wages.

RankJobsAnnual Average Wages
1.Management$131,200
2.Legal$124,540
3.Data & Tech$108,130
4.Health (Practitioners)$96,770
5.Architecture & Engineering$94,670
6.Business & Finance$86,080
7.Scientists$83,640
8.Arts, Media, Sports$76,500
9.Education$63,240
10.Construction & Extraction$58,400
11.Community & Social Service$55,760
12.Mechanics & Installation$55,680
13.Protection$54,010
14.Sales$50,370
15.Office & Admin$45,550
16.Manufacturing$45,370
17.Transport$43,930
18.Farming, Fishing, & Forestry$37,870
20.Hospitality$36,210
19.Custodial$35,900
21.Health (Support)$35,560
22.Food$32,130

Analyzing the data throws up a few correlations between number of employees and wages. The top three sectors with the most jobs (Admin, Transport, and Sales) are in the bottom 10 categories when it comes to pay.

On the other hand, three sectors in the bottom 10 of employment numbers, (Data & Tech, Architecture & Engineering, and Legal) are in the top five highest paid sectors.

The Health sector sees a big divide in pay between practitioners (doctors, nurses, therapists) ranked 5th and support staff (assistants, aides, & orderlies), ranked 21st, or second-to-last.

How is the American Workforce Changing?

Over the last five years, the American workforce has not stayed static. Of the listed 22 groups, 13 saw growth in employment numbers, nine saw a decrease, and one stayed flat since 2018.

A bar chart of the biggest increases and decreases in employment per sector in the American Workforce.

The top gainer by far is Health Support (medical assistants, care aides, orderlies, etc.) which grew by 65%. Looking at the timeline of growth does not paint a steady picture: employment jumped between 2018 and 2019, briefly fell in 2020, and has since risen again in 2021-2022.

Another top gainer is Transport, rising from the 4th to 3rd biggest employer, beating out Sales in 2022. Business & Finance and Management have also seen steady increases since 2018.

On the other hand Hospitality saw a staggering 48% drop in numbers, not all together surprising given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the rise of tech companies like Airbnb.

Meanwhile, Office & Admin work saw a 15% loss in employees, even though this category is still the biggest employer in the country by a significant margin. Although jobs in this group saw steady declines from 2018-2021, it registered a slight uptick in workers between 2021 and 2022.

Here’s a full list of top-level sectors and how they changed.

Jobs20182022% Change (2018-2022)
Health Support4,117,450 6,792,310 +65%
Transport10,244,260 13,560,460 +32%
Management7,616,650 9,860,740 +29%
Business & Finance7,721,300 9,677,720 +25%
Data & Tech4,384,300 5,003,910 +14%
Sciences1,171,910 1,314,360 +12%
Legal1,127,900 1,216,600 +7%
Community & Social Service2,171,820 2,313,620 +7%
Arts, Media, & Sports1,951,170 2,063,380 +6%
Health Practioners8,646,730 9,043,070 +5%
Mechanics and Installataion5,628,880 5,823,400 +3%
Construction & Extraction5,962,640 6,075,520 +2%
Protection3,437,410 3,437,610 0%
Custodial4,421,980 4,316,350 -2%
Architecture & Engineering2,556,220 2,481,170 -3%
Education8,779,780 8,496,780 -3%
Farming, Fishing, & Forestry480,130 461,750 -4%
Manufacturing9,115,530 8,738,980 -4%
Food13,374,620 12,514,620 -6%
Sales and Related14,542,290 13,183,250 -9%
Office & Admin21,828,990 18,674,770 -15%
Hospitality5,451,330 2,835,650 -48%

Looking ahead, questions about the future of the American workforce loom large, especially in the wake of the AI revolution that has swept imaginations, and quite possibly, soon the economy. People who hold administrative jobs—the largest category—are most vulnerable since many office tasks can be automated with increasingly sophisticated AI tools.

Will AI be as dominating a factor as the Industrial Revolution on the global economy? Will it cause as big a shift as the offshoring of manufacturing from the U.S.?

Or will AI blend seamlessly into the current make-up of the American workforce, merely enhancing productivity and profit?

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Data note 1: Categories from the original data were modified slightly for better readability. Some have been renamed all together. They are:

  • Production, listed as Manufacturing.
  • Installation, maintenance and repair, listed as Mechanics & Installation.
  • Computer and mathematical operations, listed as Data & tech.
  • Building and groundskeeping, listed as Custodial.
  • Personal care and service, listed as Hospitality.
  • Life, physical, social science, listed as Science.

Data note #2: OES data is a combination of surveys conducted by the BLS and estimates are produced for over 800 jobs in the country. The survey collects occupational employment and wage data from establishments in nonfarm industries only and doesn’t survey the following: Crop production, Animal production, Timber tract operations, Forest nurseries & gathering of forest products, Fishing, hunting, and trapping, Forestry support activities, and Private households.

The survey also does not cover the self-employed, owners and partners in unincorporated firms, household workers, or unpaid family workers.

Data note #3: On the calculating end, due to rounding of each category and the 100 workers total, some categories can have slightly more or less workers, depending on the method use. In 2022, both Management and Business & Finance employment can be rounded up to 7 workers each. On the other hand, Farm, Fishing and Forestry can be rounded down to 0. Our rounding was done to provide as wide a scope of the economy as possible, while also maintaining accuracy.

Finally, percentage change in employment per sector was not adjusted for general population or employment growth from 2018 to 2022.

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Real Estate

Mapped: The Growth in House Prices by Country

Global house prices were resilient in 2022, rising 6%. We compare nominal and real price growth by country as interest rates surged.

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The Growth in House Prices by Country

Mapped: The Growth in House Prices by Country

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Global housing prices rose an average of 6% annually, between Q4 2021 and Q4 2022.

In real terms that take inflation into account, prices actually fell 2% for the first decline in 12 years. Despite a surge in interest rates and mortgage costs, housing markets were noticeably stable. Real prices remain 7% above pre-pandemic levels.

In this graphic, we show the change in residential property prices with data from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).

The Growth in House Prices, Ranked

The following dataset from the BIS covers nominal and real house price growth across 58 countries and regions as of the fourth quarter of 2022:

Price Growth
Rank
Country /
Region
Nominal Year-over-Year
Change (%)
Real Year-over-Year
Change (%)
1🇹🇷 Türkiye167.951.0
2🇷🇸 Serbia23.17.0
3🇷🇺 Russia23.19.7
4🇲🇰 North Macedonia20.61.0
5🇮🇸 Iceland20.39.9
6🇭🇷 Croatia17.33.6
7🇪🇪 Estonia16.9-3.0
8🇮🇱 Israel16.811.0
9🇭🇺 Hungary16.5-5.1
10🇱🇹 Lithuania16.0-5.5
11🇸🇮 Slovenia15.44.2
12🇧🇬 Bulgaria13.4-3.2
13🇬🇷 Greece12.23.7
14🇵🇹 Portugal11.31.3
15🇬🇧 United Kingdom10.0-0.7
16🇸🇰 Slovak Republic9.7-4.8
17
🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates
9.62.9
18🇵🇱 Poland9.3-6.9
19🇱🇻 Latvia9.1-10.2
20🇸🇬 Singapore8.61.9
21🇮🇪 Ireland8.6-0.2
22🇨🇱 Chile8.2-3.0
23🇯🇵 Japan7.93.9
24🇲🇽 Mexico7.9-0.1
25🇵🇭 Philippines7.7-0.2
26🇺🇸 United States7.10.0
27🇨🇿 Czechia6.9-7.6
28🇷🇴 Romania6.7-7.5
29🇲🇹 Malta6.3-0.7
30🇨🇾 Cyprus6.3-2.9
31🇨🇴 Colombia6.3-5.6
32🇱🇺 Luxembourg5.6-0.5
33🇪🇸 Spain5.5-1.1
34🇨🇭 Switzerland5.42.4
35🇳🇱 Netherlands5.4-5.3
36🇦🇹 Austria5.2-4.8
37🇫🇷 France4.8-1.2
38🇧🇪 Belgium4.7-5.7
39🇹🇭 Thailand4.7-1.1
40🇿🇦 South Africa3.1-4.0
41🇮🇳 India2.8-3.1
42🇮🇹 Italy2.8-8.0
43🇳🇴 Norway2.6-3.8
44🇮🇩 Indonesia2.0-3.4
45🇵🇪 Peru1.5-6.3
46🇲🇾 Malaysia1.2-2.6
47🇰🇷 South Korea-0.1-5.0
48🇲🇦 Morocco-0.1-7.7
49🇧🇷 Brazil-0.1-5.8
50🇫🇮 Finland-2.3-10.2
51🇩🇰 Denmark-2.4-10.6
52🇦🇺 Australia-3.2-10.2
53🇩🇪 Germany-3.6-12.1
54🇸🇪 Sweden-3.7-13.7
55🇨🇳 China-3.7-5.4
56🇨🇦 Canada-3.8-9.8
57🇳🇿 New Zealand-10.4-16.5
58🇭🇰 Hong Kong SAR-13.5-15.1

Türkiye’s property prices jumped the highest globally, at nearly 168% amid soaring inflation.

Real estate demand has increased alongside declining interest rates. The government drastically cut interest rates from 19% in late 2021 to 8.5% to support a weakening economy.

Many European countries saw some of the highest price growth in nominal terms. A strong labor market and low interest rates pushed up prices, even as mortgage rates broadly doubled across the continent. For real price growth, most countries were in negative territory—notably Sweden, Germany, and Denmark.

Nominal U.S. housing prices grew just over 7%, while real price growth halted to 0%. Prices have remained elevated given the stubbornly low supply of inventory. In fact, residential prices remain 45% above pre-pandemic levels.

How Do Interest Rates Impact Property Markets?

Global house prices boomed during the pandemic as central banks cut interest rates to prop up economies.

Now, rates have returned to levels last seen before the Global Financial Crisis. On average, rates have increased four percentage points in many major economies. Roughly three-quarters of the countries in the BIS dataset witnessed negative year-over-year real house price growth as of the fourth quarter of 2022.

Interest rates have a large impact on property prices. Cross-country evidence shows that for every one percentage point increase in real interest rates, the growth rate of housing prices tends to fall by about two percentage points.

When Will Housing Prices Fall?

The rise in U.S. interest rates has been counteracted by homeowners being reluctant to sell so they can keep their low mortgage rates. As a result, it is keeping inventory low and prices high. Homeowners can’t sell and keep their low mortgage rates unless they meet strict conditions on a new property.

Additionally, several other factors impact price dynamics. Construction costs, income growth, labor shortages, and population growth all play a role.

With a strong labor market continuing through 2023, stable incomes may help stave off prices from falling. On the other hand, buyers with floating-rate mortgages face steeper costs and may be unable to afford new rates. This could increase housing supply in the market, potentially leading to lower prices.

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