US government statisticians have identified 478 detailed occupational categories. All play a role in the economy. Each occupation adds value through a unique set of skills and provides people employed in that occupation with income and the satisfaction of knowing they contribute to the entire country’s well-being. But, let’s face it, some occupations are more equal than others. Some people do, indeed, wield more power—power to make decisions that profoundly affect their fellow citizens. Through the lens of Data USA, we can learn something about those people.
The Census Bureau identifies these occupations as “Chief Executives and Legislators,” and counts some 1.1 million people in this category (out of about 145 million people working in the U.S. economy). Not surprisingly, the occupation is well paid—the fourth highest paid occupation in the database.
Chief executives are spread widely among industries, since just about any company needs somebody in charge. Industries which most commonly employ chief executives are those that are relatively fragmented, with many competing companies. As the figure shows, there are more chief executives in construction—a very fragmented and competitive industry—than in any other industry.