The U.S. economy is forecast to add more than 7 million jobs over the next five years, but whether workers benefit from that growth depends on which sector they work in.
Middle-income earners are most at risk for losing out in the economy, given that jobs paying middle-class wages are projected to grow by only 3 percent, according to a new study from CareerBuilder. High-wage and low-wage jobs, meanwhile, will grow by 5 percent through 2021. Even worse, 61 percent of the 173 occupations that are projected to lose jobs are within the middle-wage category, the research found.
That impact is already being felt by many Americans, given the labor dynamics of the post-recession years. College graduates are benefiting most during the recovery, grabbing the largest share of the nearly 12 million jobs that have been created following the downturn, while less educated Americans are finding themselves pushed into lower-paying, lower-skilled jobs.
Those trends are underlying much of the anger expressed by voters in the run-up to the presidential election, with GOP candidate Donald Trump vowing to "make America great again" by reclaiming manufacturing jobs, among other issues.
"The economy has taken a lot of jobs way from the middle-wage sector," said Michael Erwin, senior career advisor at CareerBuilder. That is "either pushing them into unemployment or into low-skill minimum-wage jobs."
That trend isn't only a problem for those workers, but also for the economy as a whole, given that lower earnings or higher unemployment leads to lower consumer spending and can impact every sector, from housing to automobiles. CareerBuilder views middle-wage jobs as those that pay $13.84 to $21.13 per hour, or about $29,000 to $44,000 annually.
Workers in middle-wage occupations that are projected to shrink within the next five years should consider how to retool and prepare for a career switch, Erwin said. That can range from reframing a skill -- such as emphasizing the communication tools one has learned on the job -- to going back to school.
Read on to learn about the five middle-wage jobs that are projected to both grow the most and lose the most jobs within the next five years.