More U.S. jobs directly or indirectly relate to consumer spending than to all other sectors of the economy combined. In 2007, which was the business cycle peak prior to the latest economic downturn, 85.1 million nonagricultural wage and salary jobs related to consumer spending; these jobs were 61.5 percent of total nonagricultural wage and salary employment in the United States. But unlike GDP, the percentage of U.S. jobs tied to consumption has fluctuated within a relatively stable range since the late 1970s because of labor-saving technologies and increased consumption of imports.
Between 1993 and 2007, consumer-related employment fluctuated between 60 and 62 percent of total employment—at the lower end of the historic range dating to the late 1970s—when the percentage of investment-related employment increased to fuel economic expansion. But in 2009, the worst year of the recession, personal consumption expenditure (PCE)-related employment increased to 63 percent of U.S. employment and then rose again in 2011 and 2012.
More from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.