Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Truck driver is not the most common job in the U.S., Market Watch writer says

Planet Money’s story about truck drivers being the most common job in the U.S. was way off base, Rex Nutting writes in an op-ed piece for Market Watch. “It’s one of those examples where a statistic can be absolutely correct and utterly wrong at the same time. Although the story does reflect the data accurately, it doesn’t reflect the real world.”

"In reality, the American workplace is now largely one that sells things, or fixes meals, or shuffles information, or provides personal services to people,” Nutting writes. “We’re a services economy, not a ‘thing’ economy.”

Around 2.8 million American workers drive trucks, Nutting writes. But more than 21 million work in office and administrative support, more than 14 million work in sales, more than 11 million work in food service and nine million work in transportation or material-moving occupations.

The problem is that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics breaks down each group into sub-groups, such as placing the seven million teachers into 80 different occupations, Nutting writes. At the same time, other occupations, such as retail, are all lumped into the same category, regardless of what they sell.

“The sorting was inconsistent, so the comparison isn’t a legitimate one, and it makes us think that truck driving is the most common occupation in many states,” Nutting writes. "Even if we put all 2.8 million truck drivers into a single category, there are still more office clerks, retail salespersons, cashiers and fast-food workers. There are nearly as many nurses, customer-service reps, cooks, waitresses, secretaries, janitors and material handlers.” (Read more)

No comments: