The most, least common jobs in the U.S.

A registered nurse is one one the most common jobs in the United States, according to 24/7 Wall St. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — You may see fewer job listings for wood patternmakers, animal breeders and geographers and more for office clerks and registered nurses, according to research that reflects the most and least common jobs in the United States.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed figures published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics on occupational employment and wages for more than 800 professions to determine the nation’s most and least common jobs. The figures reflect data as of May 2013.

The least common job in the U.S. is fabric mender, the data show. Fabric menders repair defects in fabrics and fix tears, clean stains and install grommets.

As of May 2013 — when 24/7 Wall St. collected its employment data — there were only 800 fabric menders. And the BLS projects that the number of menders will decline even further in the next decade.

Wooden patternmakers ranked No. 2 on the least common jobs list. Wood patternmakers generally plan and construct wooden units or sectional patterns in various types of furniture.

There were about 870 people who held the occupation in May 2013, according to the data.

The nation’s least common jobs aren’t expanding as rapidly as others, Martin Kohli, chief regional economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, told 24/7 Wall St.

“[They] are clearly on the decline because the industries that employ them are, and the technologies they use, are on the decline,” Kohli told 24/7 Wall St.

Some of the uncommon jobs do have growth potential and include relatively high salaries, Kohli says.

The most common jobs reflect expanding industries.

Retail salesperson ranked as the most common job with about 4.5 million jobs. Cashiers, food preparation and serving workers and officer clerks cracked the top five most common jobs as well, according to the data.

Many of the county’s most common jobs don’t require a formal education and tend to pay low wages. Also, they offer few opportunities for advancement.

In addition to the BLS data, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed employment forecasts from the Bureau’s Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections. Also, researchers reviewed descriptive information on occupations from the Bureau’s Occupational Outlook Handbook as well as O*NET OnLine.

Below is a list of the least common jobs with the total number of jobs in parenthesis:

  1. Geographers (1,480)
  2. Timing device assemblers and adjusters (1,460)
  3. Animal breeders (1,240)
  4. Wooden model makers (1,240)
  5. Radio operators (1,160)
  6. Segmental pavers (1,110)
  7. Mathematical technicians (1,080)
  8. Industrial-organizational psychologists (1,040)
  9. Wood patternmakers (870)
  10. Fabric Menders (800)

Below is a list of the most common jobs with the total number of jobs in parenthesis:

  1. Janitors and cleaners (2.1 million)
  2. Secretaries and administrative assistants (2.2 million)
  3. Hand laborers and material movers (2.3 million)
  4. Customer service representatives (2.4 million)
  5. Waiters and waitresses (2.4 million)
  6. Registered nurses (2.7 million)
  7. Office clerks (2.8 million)
  8. Food preparation and serving workers (3 million)
  9. Cashiers (3.3 million)
  10. Retail salespersons (4.5 million)


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