The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has just issued its Employment Projections — 2020-2030 report. The primary conclusion is that total employment over the course of the decade will grow from 153.5 million to 165.4 million. That puts the annual growth rate at 0.7%, which is higher than in many 10-year periods in the past. That is due, in part, because of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic-driven recession. Another reason is that gross domestic product is expected to grow at a healthy rate of 2.3% per year over the same period.
The document reports on employment at two levels. The first, known as “Industry Employment,” is very broad. The second, “Occupational Employment,” is much more specific in terms of exactly which job categories will grow fastest.
Commenting on Industry Employment, the authors wrote: “Employment in leisure and hospitality is projected to grow the fastest among all sectors over the 2020–30 decade, accounting for 7 of the 20 fastest growing industries.”
This industry was particularly damaged by the pandemic recession as millions of jobs at restaurants, hotels, theme parks and bars were lost and many of these closed. On an individual basis, some of them are closed permanently. However, some of the largest venues, like theme parks owned by Disney, have reopened.
On the more granular level, among occupations, the fastest growth is expected in what the BLS calls “healthcare support.” The report’s authors write: “Healthcare occupations and those associated with healthcare (including mental health) account for 7 of the 30 fastest growing occupations from 2020 to 2030.”
The BLS’s Occupational Outlook Handbook covers the same 10-year period, and its authors report that employment in health care occupations is forecast to grow by 16%, which is an increase of 2.6 million jobs. The occupation covers a number of categories, including doctors, nurses, dental workers, EMTs, home health care aides and pharmacists. One theory is that these occupations will grow due to the needs of an aging population.