Special Report

America's 25 Thriving Industries

Machine Harvesting Wheat
Source: Thinkstock

20. Wheat farming
> Employment growth 2006-2015: 61.6%
> Employment total: 6,488
> Wage growth 2006-2015: 45.0%
> Avg. annual wage: $33,505

The number of wheat farmers in the United States has risen by 61.6% over the past 10 years, far more than the 4.2% average growth across all occupations. While U.S. wheat production is down by approximately 3 million harvested acres over the past decade, increases in technology have led to improved yields. Average wheat yield has advanced from 42.0 bushels per acre in the 2005-06 season to 43.6 in 2015-16, with average prices increasing from $3.42 a bushel to $4.89. This has resulted in wage increases for wheat farmers. The average annual salary grew from $23,108 to $33,505, a 45.0% increase, far greater than the 24.5% average increase across all occupations.

Offices of all other health practitioners
Source: Thinkstock

19. Offices of all other health practitioners
> Employment growth 2006-2015: 61.8%
> Employment total: 133,582
> Wage growth 2006-2015: 15.0%
> Avg. annual wage: $42,719

Offices of all other health practitioners employ health care professionals other than physicians, dentists, chiropractors, optometrists, mental health specialists, physical, occupational, and speech therapists, or audiologists. These other occupations include acupuncturists, midwives, dietitians, podiatrists, and homeopaths. Demand for such services is likely to continue to grow as the aging baby boom generation continues to require increased medical attention and health care providers expand their coverage to include such care.

Welding works on gas pipeline, Oil and gas pipeline construction
Source: Thinkstock

18. Oil and gas pipeline construction
> Employment growth 2006-2015: 62.4%
> Employment total: 135,489
> Wage growth 2006-2015: 44.5%
> Avg. annual wage: $78,333

The number of oil and gas pipeline construction workers increased by 62.4% between 2006 and 2015. While the BLS projects above average growth in alternative energy production, employment in conventional energy industries has continued to expand in the past decade. Average oil and gas pipeline construction wages have also increased substantially, from $54,196 a year to $78,333.

Healthcare, doctor patient, outpatient, medical services, ambulatory
Source: Thinkstock

17. Other outpatient care centers
> Employment growth 2006-2015: 64.1%
> Employment total: 543,697
> Wage growth 2006-2015: 31.6%
> Avg. annual wage: $67,205

The other outpatient care centers industry excludes outpatient care facilities such as family planning centers, mental health clinics, or substance abuse treatment centers. Examples of outpatient care within the industry include dialysis clinics, sleep disorder centers, and community health clinics. Like most medical professions, employment growth in other outpatient care centers is closely tied to the aging of the baby boom generation. The number of workers in other outpatient care centers increased from 331,333 in 2006 to 543,967 in 2015, a 64.1% growth.

Recycling belt, Materials Recovery Facility
Source: Thinkstock

16. Materials recovery facilities
> Employment growth 2006-2015: 64.3%
> Employment total: 18,280
> Wage growth 2006-2015: 5.5%
> Avg. annual wage: $45,217

One of the most important steps in the recycling process is the separation and sorting of recyclable materials from garbage and waste. This process is done in materials recovery facilities. Recycling in the United States has increased substantially over the last 50 years, with the first municipal recycling programs taking off in the early 1970s. In the past decade alone, the share of trash that was recycled or composted rose from 31.4% of all municipal solid waste to 34.6%, a difference of nearly 10 million tons of waste. Employment in the industry has increased to keep up with the growing volume of recycled waste. The number of materials recovery facility workers rose by 64.3% between 2006 and 2015, far more than the 4.2% average across all U.S. occupations.