Special Report

America's 25 Thriving Industries

Business woman on phone, media buying agency
Source: Thinkstock

15. Media buying agencies
> Employment growth 2006-2015: 66.1%
> Employment total: 15,663
> Wage growth 2006-2015: 48.1%
> Avg. annual wage: $111,220

Media buying agencies primarily act as an intermediary between media outlets and advertisers. They buy advertising time and space in print, online, television, radio and other media outlets and resell it to advertisers or companies. While advertising in newspapers and magazines has declined in recent years, advertising on other platforms, particularly those that target mobile devices, has increased. Employment in the media buying industry increased by 66.1% in the past decade and wages have also grown substantially. The average salary of a media buying agent is $111,220 a year, a 48.1% increase from 10 years ago.

Source: Thinkstock

14. Other technical consulting services
> Employment growth 2006-2015: 77.2%
> Employment total: 201,767
> Wage growth 2006-2015: 29.2%
> Avg. annual wage: $84,155

The other technical consulting services industry classification includes relatively specialized consultancies, such as agricultural consulting, motion picture consulting, economic consulting, and security consulting. Employment in the sector grew by 77.2% from 113,900 in 2006 to 201,800 in 2015, far faster than the average occupation. The BLS forecasts that employment in the industry will continue its rapid expansion, as a growing economy will make companies more competitive and increase their demand for consulting services. The BLS projects that the smaller, more specialized consultancies will be in the greatest demand.

Educational support service (tutor)

13. Educational support services
> Employment growth 2006-2015: 79.8%
> Employment total: 158,178
> Wage growth 2006-2015: 31.4%
> Avg. annual wage: $47,365

The educational support services industry mostly comprises establishments that provide education-related services other than teaching and instruction such as educational consulting, testing services, or student exchange programs. The educational support services industry has expanded rapidly in the past decade, increasing from approximately 88,000 employees in 2006 to 158,200 in 2015, as the number of establishments grew from 9,400 to 15,700 over the same period. One reason for the massive growth may be the increasing competitiveness of college admissions. Applications have increased at more than 70% of colleges in 10 of the last 15 years. With more students applying for higher education institutions, applicants have a lower chance of being accepted. Some likely seek out educational support services to increase their chances.

Happy brewer, Beer Brewery
Source: Thinkstock

12. Breweries
> Employment growth 2006-2015: 87.1%
> Employment total: 48,401
> Wage growth 2006-2015: -10.1%
> Avg. annual wage: $60,456

The number of U.S. breweries has risen dramatically over the past decade, from 400 establishments in 2006 to 2,200 in 2015. One major reason for the rapid industry growth is the changing beer tastes among American consumers. Younger drinkers are continually choosing small craft beer brands over large mainstream brands. In 2013, Americans consumed more craft beer than Budweiser for the first time ever, at 16.1 million barrels of craft to Budweiser’s 16.0 million barrels. While beer prices have risen since 2006, the average annual wage for brewery employees fell by 10.1% over the last 10 years. By contrast, wages rose by 24.5% across all occupations nationwide.

Mobile food service, food truck
Source: Thinkstock

11. Mobile food services
> Employment growth 2006-2015: 92.1%
> Employment total: 15,272
> Wage growth 2006-2015: 24.2%
> Avg. annual wage: $17,571

The mobile food services industry includes operations such as ice cream trucks, food concession stands, hot dog carts, and food trucks. Food trucks are relatively inexpensive investments compared to most other food services, requiring little more than a street permit. This has allowed more people to open such a business. The number of mobile food service establishments more than doubled in the past decade, from 1,600 in 2006 to 3,600 in 2015. Despite increasing steadily over the last 10 years, wages for mobile food vendors remain low. The average mobile food vendor earns just $17,571 annually, about $2,000 less than the average across the food services sector as a whole and $35,000 less than the average for all occupations.