The Next Decade's Top 10 Growth Industries

Last Updated Dec 18, 2009 4:29 PM EST

I don't know about you, but I expect to still be working ten years from now. You know, they'll probably have to pry the notebook computer out of my cold, dead hands. So I care a lot about which industries are expected to see the most employment growth, and the biggest declines, over the coming decade. And since I'm probably older than you, that means you should care too.

Last week, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics published Employment Projections: 2008-2018, a fascinating report with all kinds of statistics to help provide occupational guidance for Americans (apologies to international readers, but who knows, you might learn something). Even though my current profession is included in the "high growth" category, I still found the data to be depressing, but not for the reason you'd think.

Sure, America is slowly but surely transitioning from a manufacturing to a service-based economy. But that didn't bug me so much. What really got me was how much health care we're all going to need now that we're getting older.

Look, I'm no Peter Pan. I know aging is inevitable. At least for me, it comes down to a race between how soon medical science can grow rejection-resistant livers and develop anti-dementia drugs, versus the rapid pace with which my lifestyle choices are killing off what's left of my liver and brain cells. And trust me: I'm definitely rooting for medical science.

I'm just not happy about the prospect of being taken care of. What can I say; I like to go to the bathroom by myself and choose my own brand of "medication." But that's just me.

Anyway, the report is full of data, but I thought these two charts would be the most helpful to you, oh faithful reader of The Corner Office:
The 10 industries with the largest employment growth, 2008-2018

  1. Management, scientific, technical consulting services +82%
  2. Services for elderly and people with disabilities +73%
  3. Home health care services +46%
  4. Computer systems design and related services +45%
  5. Other general merchandise stores +40%
  6. Offices of physicians +34%
  7. Nursing care facilities +24%
  8. Employment services +19%
  9. Local government, excluding education and hospitals +8%
  10. Full service restaurants +7%
The 10 industries with the largest employment declines, 2008-2018
  1. Cut and sew apparel manufacturing -57%
  2. Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing -33%
  3. Newspaper publishers -24%
  4. Support activities for mining -23%
  5. Motor vehicle parts manufacturing -18%
  6. Printing and related support activities -16%
  7. Postal service -13%
  8. Wired telecommunications carriers -11%
  9. Department stores -10%
  10. Gasoline stations -8%
Some interesting takeaways:
  • There's nothing about alternative energy except declining gas station jobs
  • I guess we're finally going paperless and wireless
  • Just my personal crystal ball: I think robotics, sensors, 3D imaging, and new technology in general, will play a big role in health care and lots of other industries
And now, for the depressing part - The 10 fastest growing occupations:
The 10 fastest growing occupations, 2008-2018
  1. Biomedical engineers 72%
  2. Network systems and data communications analysts 53%
  3. Home health aides 50%
  4. Personal and home care aides 46%
  5. Financial examiners 41%
  6. Medical scientists 40%
  7. Physician assistants 39%
  8. Skin care specialists 37%
  9. Biochemists and biophysicists 37%
  10. Athletic trainers 37%
As you can see, eight of the ten are health related. You know, I started out premed in college. Guess I screwed up.