Special Report

America's 25 Thriving Industries

25. Pipeline transportation of crude oil
> Employment growth from 2005-2014:
54.1%
> Avg. annual employment growth: 4.9%
> Employment total: 10,705
> Avg. annual wage: $113,215

Of the 25 industries with the fastest employment growth, pipeline transportation of crude oil is one of several that are oil-related. Over the past decade, the mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector has grown by 50.1%, the fastest growth rate of any sector. Because almost all crude oil must pass through some kind of pipeline, the oil and gas industry growth meant a large surge in the pipeline transportation of crude oil industry as well. The industry expanded from 6,945 employees nationwide in 2005 to 10,705 in 2014, a 54.1% increase. Industry wages, which have always been some of the highest in the country, grew as well. Average annual income for a pipeline transportation of crude oil industry worker increased from $84,758 in 2005 to $113,215 in 2014, a 33.6% rise.

24. Corn farming
> Employment growth from 2005-2014:
54.5%
> Avg. annual employment growth: 4.9%
> Employment total: 16,988
> Avg. annual wage: $39,700

Between 2005 and 2014, corn farming has been one of the fastest growing industries by employment in the United States. Roughly 11,000 Americans worked on the 1,548 corn farms throughout the country in 2005. As of last year, the industry employed about 17,000 workers on the country’s 2,974 corn farms. Industry wages have increased alongside employment, from an average annual pay of $29,243 in 2005 to $39,701 last year.

Corn has a wide variety of uses. The crop accounts for more than 95% of total feed grain for livestock in the country. It is also commonly used as a sweetener, a source of alcohol, and is processed into ethanol.

23. Oil and gas extraction
> Employment growth from 2005-2014:
56.3%
> Avg. annual employment growth: 5.1%
> Employment total: 196,673
> Avg. annual wage: $161,567

Nationally, the oil and gas extraction industry operates 9,827 facilities, which together operate in a range of activities, from exploration, drilling, recovery, and desilting, to the point of shipment. The industry employed 125,818 Americans in 2005. By 2014, industry employment had grown by 56.3% to 196,673 U.S. workers.

Oil and gas extraction is one of the highest paying industries in the country. The average annual salary is $161,567. Only two of the country’s 25 fastest growing industries have a higher average annual salary.

22. Offices of specialty therapists
> Employment growth from 2005-2014:
56.6%
> Avg. annual employment growth: 5.1%
> Employment total: 332,680
> Avg. annual wage: $42,726

Americans over the age of 65 currently make up 14.5% of the U.S. population, the largest share in recorded history. According to the Census Bureau, that figure is expected to increase in the coming decades. As the elderly share of the population grows, so does the need for elder care. Consequently, demand for specialty therapists, such as physical and occupational therapists, is increasing in America — and with it employment in the field. Offices of specialty therapists employed 212,373 workers nationwide in 2005. As of last year, that figure had grown to 332,680 employees, a 56.6% increase. There are also many new offices and practices of specialty therapists. In the past decade, the number of specialty therapy offices has grown from 22,373 to 33,188 in 2014, a 48.3% increase.

21. Wineries
> Employment growth from 2005-2014:
57.4%
> Avg. annual employment growth: 5.2%
> Employment total: 52,830
> Avg. annual wage: $41,783

A total of 3,559 wineries in the country employ some 52,830 people. Employment in the industry has grown 57.4% since 2005 when wineries employed only 33,565 people. While industry employment has shot up since 2005, wages have not. The average annual pay of a winery worker is $41,783, only about $200 more than the average annual wage 10 years ago.

The industry’s growth is closely tied to California’s economy. Due largely to favorable climates and fertile soil, California produces far more wine than any other state. Wineries in the Golden State churned out roughly 85% of the roughly 835 million gallons of wine produced in the United States in 2014.

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