3 min read
The U.S. Department of Labor tracks some neat stats on employment and age for hundreds of different occupations. Here are some interesting numbers I found from digging into the data:
There are a total of 153 million employed persons in the U.S. age 16 or older.
The median age for an employed person is 42.2 years old.
The occupation with the oldest median age is “farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers” at 55.7 years old.
The occupation with the youngest median age is lifeguards at 21 years old.
The most common occupation is truck driving, with over 3.5 million drivers in the U.S.
There is no known “least common” occupation since data is so hard to collect on uncommon occupations.
This graph shows total employment vs. age for over 300 U.S. occupations. Each dot represents a unique occupation:
Let’s zoom in on the bottom-left portion of the graph, where total employment and median age are both low:
Here we see some common occupations that young people hold when they’re just entering the workforce: lifeguards, fast food workers, coffee shop attendants, hosts and hostesses, etc.
Now let’s zoom in on the top-left portion of the graph, where total employment is low but median age is high:
Here we see a group of occupations that are all over the place in terms of industry: dentists, postal service clerks, tax preparers, crossing guards, etc.
Some of these occupations seem like ones that naturally lend themselves to longer careers where age doesn’t impact productivity much (dentists) while others appear to be more volunteer-type work (crossing guards).
Now let’s zoom in on the top-right portion of the graph, where total employment and median age are both fairly high:
Here we see three common occupations: janitors, secretaries, and truck drivers. The median age for all three is over 45 years old and the total employment is over 2 million for each.
Lastly, let’s check out the bottom-right portion of the graph where employment is high but median age is low:
Here we see occupations that require little to no experience to get started like waiters, waitresses, cooks, customer service reps, retail workers, and cashiers.
If you’re interested in taking a deeper dive into the data, check out the full data set from the Department of Labor or download the spreadsheet that I used to aggregate these numbers and to create the charts.
Thanks for reading 🙂
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