U.S. Employment Statistics

Employment

126,752,238 employees

worked in the United States in 2016.

—Census Bureau, County Business Patterns

The County Business Patterns (CBP), released annually by the U.S. Census Bureau, provides detailed economic data on employment, payroll, and business establishments. 

Paid employment statistics consider full- and part-time employees who are on the payroll during the period that includes March 12. These figures include salaried officers and executives of corporations, as well as employees on paid sick leave, holidays, and vacations. Proprietors and partners of unincorporated businesses are not included.

How many U.S. employees work in each industry sector?

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) divides up businesses and other establishments into industry sectors. The chart above shows the number of employees in each major sector. 

While NAICS does include the public sector, note that CBP data excludes most government establishments—with the exceptions of wholesale liquor establishments (NAICS 4248), retail liquor stores (NAICS 44531), federally-chartered savings institutions (NAICS 522120), federally-chartered credit unions (NAICS 522130), and hospitals (NAICS 622).

Note: Use the time-slider to view data from different years.

How do employment statistics vary for different sizes of establishments?

An establishment is a single location where business or other operations take place. Establishments should not be confused with companies—one firm may operate multiple establishments throughout the United States. 

This chart shows total employment broken down by the "size class" groups of establishments. Size class groupings are derived from establishments' mid-March pay period. The "1 to 4" group also includes establishments with no employees reported in March, but that nevertheless paid wages to at least one employee sometime during the year. 

How many employees work in corporations, nonprofits, and other forms of organization?

Corporations are businesses treated as separate legal entities, distinct from their members. S-Corporations are a special kind that do not pay federal income taxes; instead, their shareholders must report the S-Corp's income and losses on their tax returns. 

Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships are unincorporated businesses with one or multiple members, respectively. 

Non-Profits are organizations that use surplus funds directly, rather than distributing them as profit to owners or shareholders. Most non-profits are exempt from income taxes.  

Note that "Government" here only includes employees of government-run wholesale and retail liquor establishments, federally-chartered savings institutions and chartered credit unions, and hospitals. Other government employment data is excluded from the CBP series. 

More Information

County Business Patterns: Glossary
County Business Patterns: Methodology
Census Bureau: Home