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What are the fastest growing occupations & industries?

The advent of the information age and the effects of the internet have had some unexpected influences on the many American industries. The ability of companies to distribute their workforce around the globe thanks to excellent communication and collaboration technologies has changed the face of several job sectors and created the concept of the 'knowledge worker' who is able to leverage a unique skill set in order to perform tasks that were rarely seen on resumes a mere 15 years ago.

Occupations projected to have the most rapid growth
Occupations projected to have the most rapid growth during the period 2000-20101.

As this chart from NIOSH shows, the top seven jobs with the brightest futures in terms of growth are all inextricably tied to the information economy. Some of these positions serve to maintain the massive IT infrastructure which underpins the new global village, while others such as software engineering and design positions produce products which either improve the quality of the digital experience or seek to profit from its existence. Support positions are being increasingly farmed out overseas in order to take advantage of the low cost of labor in Asian economies, and a number of software development roles are following suite2. The most intriguing category of knowledge worker, represented here by desktop publishers, are the group of people whose jobs could not exist without the internet or personal computers.

Occupations expected to add the most jobs
Occupations expected to add the most jobs during 2000-20103.

Of course, the service industry is projected to grow alongside these other positions. Nursing and customer service jobs will be created in order to assist the expansion of the medical industry and corporate growth respectively. Third-party computer support is also predicted to boom as more and more people require assistance with increasingly complex laptops and personal computer systems.

Occupations expected to add the most jobs
Employment by major industry division, 1990, 2000, and projected to 20104.

The jump in service positions is made even more dramatic when examined across a three-decade span.

Employment by major occupational group
Employment by major occupational group, 2000 and projected to 20105.

Interestingly, management and sales positions appear as though they will plateau at current levels despite increased professional activity. In fact, few other occupational categories will see the same level of progress and the three discussed above.

Number of employed workers by major industry sector
Number of employed workers by major industry sector and percentage of female, black, and Hispanic workers, 20016.

Another interesting snapshot of the current job climate has to do with the percentage of women in certain employment categories. With women dominating both professional services such as real estate as well as service positions, the number of opportunities for female workers in growth fields is much greater than in the relatively flat sectors heavily populated by men such as manufacturing construction and agriculture.

Current economic uncertainty makes the validity of these projections shaky, especially in terms of the professional industry. However, they do provide an interesting basis for an evaluation of the future job market.

1NIOSH 2004. Worker Health Chartbook 2004, NIOSH Publication No. 2004-146. Retrieved October 23, 2008 from http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2004-146/detail/imagedetail.asp@imgid7.htm
2Zielenziger S, 2003. US Companies Moving More Jobs Overseas. Retrieved October 23, 2008 from http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/1224-07.htm
3NIOSH 2004. Worker Health Chartbook 2004, NIOSH Publication No. 2004-146. Retrieved October 23, 2008 from http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2004-146/detail/imagedetail.asp@imgid8.htm
4NIOSH 2004. Worker Health Chartbook 2004, NIOSH Publication No. 2004-146. Retrieved October 23, 2008 from http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2004-146/detail/imagedetail.asp@imgid6.htm
5NIOSH 2004. Worker Health Chartbook 2004, NIOSH Publication No. 2004-146. Retrieved October 23, 2008 from http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2004-146/detail/imagedetail.asp@imgid5.htm
6NIOSH 2004. Worker Health Chartbook 2004, NIOSH Publication No. 2004-146. Retrieved October 23, 2008 from http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2004-146/detail/imagedetail.asp@imgid402.htm

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