BLS and My Neighbor’s Laws

Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan told of overhearing his housekeeper on the phone, “Sure, he’s a doctor, but not the kind that does a body any good.”  There are more doctors that can do “a body any good” than Ph.D. sociologists like Moynihan. There is a practicing physician (whether DO or MD) for somewhere on the close order of every 530 US residents.  On the other hand, when I worked it out, there was somewhere on the order of one practicing Ph.D. sociologist for every 30,000 people.  Run my specialty – demography – out, and it is indeed humbling how irrelevant my work has been to most of society. 

Occupational Outlook shows a total of 45,500 logging jobs in the US – basically one logger for every 7,250 US residents.  Still, BLS showed only 40 employed loggers in May of 2020 in west Montana.  Somehow, I get the feeling that gypo loggers aren’t reported all that accurately.

As I recall, there’s one plumber for every 1,200 US residents, roughly.  Anyone who has needed a plumber knows that there is a profession that does a body some good.   About one percent of the population is teaching at either elementary, middle or high schools. A bit over 13% of Americans 25 and over hold graduate degrees.  Less than 10% didn’t complete a high school diploma.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides this information on “The largest occupations in West Montana non-metropolitan area, May 2020” – basically how our neighbors are employed. 

Retail Salespersons2,580
Fast Food and Counter Workers2,370
Office Clerks, General1,960
Waiters and Waitresses1,910
Home Health and Personal Care Aides1,530
Registered Nurses1,500
Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks1,360
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education1,080

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