Special Report

America's 25 Thriving Industries

10. Political organizations
> Employment growth from 2005-2014:
> Avg. annual employment growth: 7.5%
> Employment total: 11,939
> Avg. annual wage: $45,948

Political organizations are non-government groups typically hired or contracted to campaign or raise money for specific political candidates, parties, or issues.

This rise in employment among political organizations is likely due to market forces directly shaped by changing legislation. In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Citizens United, a decision that effectively allowed for unlimited corporate campaign contributions. As a result, independent political spending shot up from just under $40 million in the 2008 presidential campaign season to nearly $90 million leading up to the 2012 presidential election. With increased spending came increased employment in related industries. Since 2005, employment across all industries has grown by 3.8%. Employment in political organizations grew by nearly 92% from 2005 through 2014, faster than all but nine other U.S. industries.

9. Pet care, except veterinary, services
> Employment growth from 2005-2014:
> Avg. annual employment growth: 7.5%
> Employment total: 87,020
> Avg. annual wage: $19,307

Employment in the pet care industry grew by well over 90% from 2005 through 2014. Growth in this sector, not surprisingly, has coincided with a significant national increase in what Americans spend on their pets. According to the American Pet Products Association, U.S. pet ownership hit an all-time high in 2012. According to the BLS, the growing demand for pet care services, including dog trainers, groomers, pet sitters, kennel attendants, and caretakers in shelters and rescue leagues is expected to continue going forward. That being said, the average annual wage for a pet care worker is only $19,307, among the lowest salaries of any industry.

8. Support activities for mining
> Employment growth from 2005-2014:
> Avg. annual employment growth: 7.8%
> Employment total: 439,326
> Avg. annual wage: $88,527

Since 2005, the United States has nearly doubled its production of crude oil to become the world’s largest oil producer. As a result, employment in the mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector has increased by 50.1% since then, the fastest employment growth rate of any sector as a whole. Within that sector, employment in support activities for mining has grown by 96.8%, the eighth fastest employment growth rate of any industry in the country. Employees in the industry may work as derrick operators, drill operators, or roustabouts, among other support positions. Wages in the field, which are typically based on a contract or fee basis, have also grown significantly, from $62,287 in 2005 for the average worker to $88,527 in 2014, a 42.1% increase.

7. Apiculture
> Employment growth from 2005-2014:
> Avg. annual employment growth: 7.8%
> Employment total: 2,984
> Avg. annual wage: $35,550

Employment in the apiculture industry has nearly doubled over the past decade. Apiculture, which primarily consists of raising bees, collecting and gathering honey, and facilitating the pollination of fruits and nut crops, has grown from 1,515 U.S. employees in 2005 to 2,984 in 2014. Industry wages grew modestly in the same time period, with the average income of an apiculture employee growing from $26,572 in 2005 to $35,550 in 2014. The 33.8% wage growth was slightly higher than the 31.1% wage growth of the average American worker.

6. Goat farming
> Employment growth from 2005-2014:
> Avg. annual employment growth: 8.0%
> Employment total: 488
> Avg. annual wage: $28,256

Although goat farming is one of the smallest industries in the country, with just 488 employees nationwide, it is quickly growing. The demand for goat cheese and goat’s milk has been on the rise for some time now, and between 2005 and 2014, employment in the industry doubled. The vast majority of all goat farms have less than 500 goats and are considered small-scale by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). From 2005 to 2014, the average annual income of goat farmers had grown by just 23.2%, less than the 39.6% wage growth in the broader agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting sector.

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