America’s 25 Thriving Industries

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Distillery
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25. Distilleries
> Employment growth 2006-2015: 57.2%
> Employment total: 11,075
> Wage growth 2006-2015: 7.2%
> Avg. annual wage: $75,999

Taste in alcohol beverages among American consumers has shifted over the past decade from large, mainstream beer brands to smaller craft brews, as well as wines and liquors. While the number of distillery employees grew 57.2% from approximately 7,000 in 2006 to 11,100 in 2015, the number of new distilleries grew even faster. The number of distillery establishments increased from 80 to 560 in that time, according to the BLS. The sevenfold increase was the third fastest establishment growth of any industry.

All other pipeline transportation
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24. All other pipeline transportation
> Employment growth 2006-2015: 58.0%
> Employment total: 580
> Wage growth 2006-2015: 6.7%
> Avg. annual wage: $70,373

The industry all other pipeline transportation comprises establishments engaged in the transportation of materials other than crude oil and natural gas, such as coal or slurry. While the BLS projects above average employment growth in alternative energy industries, employment in conventional energy industries has continued to expand in the last decade. The number of workers in all other pipeline transportation grew 58.0% between 2006 and 2015, far faster than the 4.2% average growth across all occupations.

Female exercising with personal trainer at gym, sports and recreation instructor
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23. Sports and recreation instruction
> Employment growth 2006-2015: 58.5%
> Employment total: 115,669
> Wage growth 2006-2015: 15.3%
> Avg. annual wage: $18,203

The number of sports and recreation instructors has surged over the past decade from 73,000 to 115,700. One likely reason is the increase in childhood obesity throughout the United States. The obesity rate has more than doubled among children and quadrupled among adolescents over the past 30 years. As health risks among youth increase, all levels of government have established programs intended to combat this trend. Demand for sports and recreation instructors may continue to increase as many aging baby boomers require physical therapy and fitness instruction.

Grape in the vineyard. Winery
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22. Wineries
> Employment growth 2006-2015: 58.8%
> Employment total: 57,003
> Wage growth 2006-2015: 2.6%
> Avg. annual wage: $43,295

Americans today drink roughly half a gallon more wine per capita than they did 10 years ago. According to a study the Wine Market Council conducted in 2010 — the year the United States replaced France as the world’s largest consumer of wine — the increase in wine consumption is being driven by changing tastes among millennials and baby boomers. U.S. wine production has also increased, with the number of wineries doubling from 1,900 to 3,800 over the past decade. Employment in the industry grew by 58.8%, far outpacing the 4.2% average growth for all jobs.

Washington DC subway station, trains
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21. Rail transportation
> Employment growth 2006-2015: 61.3%
> Employment total: 745
> Wage growth 2006-2015: 3.5%
> Avg. annual wage: $45,284

Employment in rail transportation has increased from 462 in 2006 to 745 in 2015, a 61.3% growth. One reason for the growth is the increase in intermodal freight transport, which uses one container in multiple modes of transportation in order to cut costs. While this method of freight transport may have increased demand for rail transport workers, improvements in shipping productivity — such as double stacking containers or running longer trains — has likely kept wages stagnant. The average salary of rail transportation workers has risen just 3.5% in the past 10 years, far slower than the 24.5% average wage growth across all U.S. occupations.