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American Jobs Posted by on Aug 6, 2020 in Culture, Uncategorized

Image by Alexas Fotos from Pixabay, CCO

You will often hear on television a reference to the American labor force, but do you know what that actually means?

The American labor force is the grand total of people who are either employed or actually seeking work. To be counted as part of the American labor force you must be at least 16 years-old and not imprisoned, incapacitated either physically or mentally, or a member of the U.S. Armed Forces. The term does not refer to physical labor, like construction workers, but rather to all paying jobs with a taxable income. The prime age-group of the American labor force is between the ages of 24 and 54. As of the latest available statistics, 47% of the labor force is comprised of women.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (https://www.bls.gov/), the most common jobs in America are

  1. Retail sales
  2. Cashiers
  3. Food preparations and serving, including fast food
  4. Office clerks
  5. Registered nurses
  6. Customer service representatives
  7. Waiters and waitresses
  8. Freight, stock, and material movers by hand and small machinery
  9. Secretaries and administrative assistants
  10. Janitors and cleaners

Essential Workers

We heard a lot this year about the so-called essential worker. As businesses shut down due to the pandemic, certain members of the labor force were considered to be so important to society that we recognized their contributions in ways that we hadn’t before. Indeed, when so many in the labor force were losing their jobs, the demand for essential workers increased to the point where businesses in some areas were not only hiring more people, but they were competing for their services. These included

  • Grocery store workers
  • Health care workers including cleaners and office staff
  • Fuel and electricity suppliers, including repairs
  • Mail and shipping workers
  • Emergency workers such as police, fire, ambulance, and marine services, including dispatchers

Many of the jobs that few people think of until we need them were suddenly considered invaluable.

Not Your Average Job

But the United States is a big country. Just as we have jobs that are in high demand, we also have some that are rather, uh, peculiar. Here are some real jobs.

  • Doula (pronounced doo’-la) – A trained companion, but not a healthcare professional, who assists women in childbirth and/or postnatal care.
  • Railroad conductor – This is someone who supervises the crew on passenger and freight trains.
  • Professional Bridesmaid – Someone hired to take on many of the behind-the-scenes jobs bridesmaids are called upon to aid a bride prior to and on her big day. May be male or female.
  • Bounty hunter – They don’t just exist in movies. Sometimes, people awaiting trial are temporarily released for a fee, often arranged by a third party called a bondsman. If the accused doesn’t show up at court, the bondsman hires a bounty hunter to bring the accused to court in order to get the money back.
  • Waterslide tester – There are a lot of waterslides in the United States. Some are big, some not so much, but someone experienced has to inspect them for quality control and safety.
  • Log grader – Logging is a big industry in the U.S., and log graders are hired to estimate the quality and value of harvested timber.
  • Chicken sexer – Poultry farming is important to the economy. Someone has to quickly determine if a newly hatched egg is a hen or a rooster.
  • Card dealer – Casinos are popular throughout the country, not just in Nevada. Dealers must be experts in the games they manage and be good with the guests who are playing.
  • Rock splitter – A rock quarry is a large pit where rocks are extracted. A rock splitter breaks those rocks up before they are trucked away.
  • Mascot – Sports of all sorts have mascots who entertain the crowds and make personal appearances on behalf of their teams. We posted a blog about them in 2018.

Sadly, some of these jobs are not currently as popular as they were before the pandemic. It may be hard to find a professional bridesmaid gig today. But, hopefully, the labor force will be more gainfully employed in the near future.

Have you had a unique job in the past? Or, do you have a quirky job now? I’d love to hear about it!

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About the Author: Gary Locke

Gary is a semi-professional hyphenate.