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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Where are the jobs in the next decade? (3)

Top 10 List

Dixie Sommers, assistant commissioner for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, recites a list of the 10 occupations that the BLS expects will provide the greatest number of new jobs over the next decade. These include:

1. Registered nurses

2. Home health aids

3. Customer service representatives

4. Food preparation and serving workers

5. Personal and home care aides

6. Retail salespersons

7. Office clerks

8. Accountants

9. Nursing aides, orderlies and attendants

10. Postsecondary teachers

Six of the top seven fastest-growing occupations are low-skill, low-wage jobs.

Katz says the challenge is to move those jobs up the skills ladder. There's no reason, he says, that home health care workers couldn't be better educated to provide patients with greater value and, as a result, command higher wages to improve their own living standards.

"So [by] professionalizing those types of jobs, we could have a very optimistic vision of an economy," Katz says.

How that might square the goal of spending less on health care isn't clear.

Katz argues it wouldn't necessarily require spending more on education, but rather changing what's taught to focus more on different skills like problem solving, interpersonal relations and teamwork.

Leading Sectors

Once again this decade, the BLS is projecting that the health care sector will be a leader in producing new jobs: 4 million of them, including high-skill, high-paying jobs like doctors and nurses. The service sector, which includes health care, is expected to produce a whopping 96 percent of all new jobs, while manufacturing employment continues to shrink.

For job seekers, Sommers says nursing combines a huge number of openings with high pay — a median wage of more than $62,000 a year.

"Accountants [are] another one that's expected to grow pretty rapidly and pays around $59,000 on an annual average," Sommers says.

Less Training Required

For those who want to spend less time in school than accountants and nurses, but still make good money, Sommers suggests firefighting or becoming a sales representative for a manufacturer — especially one making technical and scientific products. Sales representatives can make about $70,000 a year, she says.

Finally, over the next decade, the best-paying, fastest-growing job that also requires little training is truck driving. According to the BLS, the folks driving the big tractor-trailer rigs earn about $37,000 a year on average.

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  1. I hope that this doesn't mean that our Government has given up on us. Maybe they're just short-sighted. None of the top ten jobs show any potential for GNP growth - they're just reacting to our aging population and focusing again on service industries. Most of these jobs are relatively low paying, so that means the economy will continue to flounder and the Government will not be able to collect enough taxes to support its spending. You might think that with all of the talk about needing to develop solutions to the impending oil shortage, global warming and poor quality merchandise from abroad that the Government would promote creative jobs like engineering and manufacturing. Instead, they seem to be content to allow our economy to wind down.

  2. I see this as a further consequence of moving work offshore and companies permanently closing. Corporate headquarters and the likes of Goldman Sachs stay here; the high paying jobs. Manufacturing and R&D continue to leave; the middle paying jobs. Services that cannot be sent off shore stabilize or grow; the low paying jobs. We become a service economy and handoff economic dominance to manufacturing countries like China. Trend doesn’t stop until general labor becomes cheap and executive pay falls in line with the general economy. Then jobs will naturally return.

  3. Without the foundation of SOME kind of manufacturing, there will be NO money to pay such service jobs. Only the government will be paying... and not for long without taxes from companies and employees who have gone to overseas...

    Its a death sentence no optimism can cure. Outsourcing MUST STOP.


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