Special Report

America's 25 Thriving Industries

The United States added 5.7 million jobs to the economy over the past decade. Jobs were not added evenly across all industries, with some shedding jobs and others adding them. In some industries, employment grew much faster than in others. In seven, employment more than doubled, including one industry in which employment nearly tripled.

To determine the industries with the fastest employment growth, 24/7 Wall St. analyzed employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These thriving industries had the largest percentage increase in employment between 2006 and 2015. For reference, employment across all occupations in the United States grew by 4.2%. Employment in services for the elderly and disabled grew the most of any industry, expanding by 200% as it added more than 1 million workers.

A number of economic and demographic trends contributed to some of the largest employment changes of the past decade. One of the most significant demographic shifts is the transition of the baby boom generation into old age. By 2020, the population of Americans aged 65 and over will outnumber the population 5 and under for the first time in history. While the millions of baby boomers entering retirement may lead to a pension crisis, the demographic shift has created thousands of new jobs in the health care sector. The health care and social assistance industries together added more than 3.8 million jobs in the last 10 years, more than any other sector.

Click here to see America’s 25 thriving industries.

Click here to see America’s 25 dying industries.

One of the fastest growing industries of the past decade is goat farming. Goat meat features prominently in many Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Southeast Asian, and Caribbean diets. These diets are growing in popularity as the share of the U.S. population that is foreign born reaches an historic high. Roughly 14% of the U.S. population today is foreign born, the result of an estimated 59 million immigrants moving to the country in the last 50 years. As that share continues to grow, other industries that cater to a diverse array of ethnicities and cultures will be in high demand. The number of translation and interpreters, for example, grew the second most of any industry workforce.

There are 22.0 million more Americans today than there were 10 years ago. The typical U.S. household today is roughly $7,300 wealthier, and there are 1.6 million more undergraduates attending college. According to the BLS, the U.S. economy is becoming more competitive, and there are a number of industries that will benefit from increased competition.

The highly specialized technical consulting workforce, for example, grew faster than that of all but 13 other industries. Employment in educational support services, which includes businesses such as educational consulting and testing services, grew 20 times faster than the average occupation.

To identify the nation’s 25 thriving industries, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed employment growth from 2006 through 2015 in 704 U.S. industries in the fourth level of detail in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) published by the federal government. All data, including the number of establishments within each industry and average annual wages for 2006 and 2015, came from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW). Job outlook for some occupations was based on analysis in the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook. The 2015 industry employment data was organized via 2012 NAICS codes, and the 2006 data was organized via 2002 NAICS codes. To ensure that all 10-year employment changes reflected natural growth, we excluded industries that were redefined during the reference period. This applied to one industry that was excluded, NAICS 51791: Other telecommunications.

These are the nation’s 25 thriving industries.

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