Special Report

America's 25 Thriving Industries

Baby Goat, Goat Farm
Source: Thinkstock

10. Goat farming
> Employment growth 2006-2015: 92.2%
> Employment total: 517
> Wage growth 2006-2015: 29.0%
> Avg. annual wage: $29,422

Growth in goat farming, like in several other growing U.S. industries, is being driven by the increasing ethnic diversity within the country. Goat meat and goat milk feature prominently in many Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Southeast Asian, and Caribbean diets, which are growing in popularity as the share of foreign born U.S. residents reaches an historic high. The number of goat farmers has nearly doubled over the past decade, increasing from 269 in 2006 to 517 in 2015. About 30 new goat farms opened in the same period, and goat meat production has grown considerably. According to the USDA, the number of goats slaughtered has doubled every decade for the past 30 years.

Dog walker, pet care
Source: Thinkstock

9. Pet care, except veterinary, services
> Employment growth 2006-2015: 92.7%
> Employment total: 95,784
> Wage growth 2006-2015: 16.8%
> Avg. annual wage: $20,204

Pet care services like boarding, grooming, sitting, and training, are growing in popularity faster than nearly any other industry. Pet care is a luxury service and is likely to continue to increase as incomes rise across the country. According to the American Pet Products Association, the pet industry has grown from $38.5 billion in total spending in 2006 to $60.3 billion in 2015. An estimated 60% of all market spending comes from high-income households, a factor that helped the industry maintain steady growth through the most recent recession. Recent high-end innovations from pet service entrepreneurs, such as luxury pet hotels, pet fitness technology, and haute pet cuisine, have bolstered spending in the industry. Despite the industry boom, the average annual wage of $20,200 for pet care services workers remains far lower than the $52,900 average across all occupations nationwide.

All other professional and technical services, power line inspection
Source: Thinkstock

8. All other professional and technical services
> Employment growth 2006-2015: 99.6%
> Employment total: 134,841
> Wage growth 2006-2015: 33.6%
> Avg. annual wage: $74,069

Some examples of businesses included in the all other professional and technical services industry classification are marine surveyor services, arbitration and conciliation services, pipeline or power line inspection services, forecasting services, consumer credit counseling services, weather forecasting services, and handwriting analysis services. While the 99.6% employment growth in such a diverse array of service offerings cannot be attributed to a single trend, the boom is likely part of an increase of small business overall. The number of small businesses in the United States has increased by 49% since 1982 and today accounts for a majority of all U.S. employment. Average establishment size has declined across all industries, and the BLS projects that the demand for small companies with specialized services will continue to grow in the near future.

Soybean farming
Source: Thinkstock

7. Soybean farming
> Employment growth 2006-2015: 106.3%
> Employment total: 4,557
> Wage growth 2006-2015: 31.0%
> Avg. annual wage: $33,429

The USDA forecasts the United States will harvest 48.9 bushels of soybeans per acre in 2016, a record high yield. Increased yield, lower production costs, and increasing soybean demand worldwide have led to massive employment growth in U.S. soybean farming and has strengthened the country’s position as the world’s leading soybean producer. The number of soybean farmers more than doubled in the past decade, rising from 2,209 in 2006 to 4,557 in 2015. The number of soybean farms grew at a similar pace, increasing from 425 to 936.

Bee keeper lifting shelf out of hive, apiculture, beekeeping
Source: Thinkstock

6. Apiculture
> Employment growth 2006-2015: 106.4%
> Employment total: 3,116
> Wage growth 2006-2015: 30.0%
> Avg. annual wage: $36,583

The number of apiculture establishments — beekeeping farms — has increased from 278 to 474 over the past decade. Bees have a number of commercial uses, including honey production, beeswax for cosmetic products, bee pollen as a health supplement, and crop pollination. Recently, industry growth has been driven by increased demand for crop pollination. An estimated two-thirds of the 2.5 million bee colonies in the United States were rented for pollination services. Increased demand for bee pollination is largely a result of increased U.S. almond production, which utilizes the bulk of the nation’s rental bee colonies. Employment in apiculture grew faster than nearly any other industry in the last 10 years, rising from 1,510 workers in 2006 to 3,116 in 2015.