Where The Jobs Will Be In The Next Decade
by John Ydstie
This month we begin a new decade with a big economic question: Where are the jobs?
The first decade of this century ended as a disaster for employment. Since the recession began two years ago, the U.S. has lost more than 7 million jobs.
Just to regain the jobs we've lost will be a huge challenge, says Harvard University labor economist Lawrence Katz. "We would need well over 300,000 [jobs] a month for four years in a row just to make up what we've lost in the last couple of years," Katz says.
He says there are very few periods in U.S. history when job growth has been that strong.
"So we're in a very deep hole," Katz says. "A normal recovery will not get us there for a very long time."
Jobs On The Horizon
Katz thinks it could take half a decade or more just to get to the employment levels we had two years ago. Still, he expects that during this new decade, the U.S. economy will eventually create 15 million new jobs, with the unemployment rate falling to around 5 percent.
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The real question, he says, is what kind of jobs they'll be. "The worrisome trend is something I've called the polarization of the labor market."
Katz says the U.S. has experienced this for the past 15 years or so. It results in strong job growth for the high-paying jobs and the low-paying jobs at both ends of the labor market, but less growth in the middle to replace the well-paying manufacturing jobs the U.S. is losing.
Projections for the next decade from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest that elements of that basic trend will continue.
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
9. Nursing aides, orderlies and attendants
10. Postsecondary teachers
Six of the top seven fastest-growing occupations are low-skill, low-wage jobs.
Click here to read part 2 of this article
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