Special Report

America's 25 Thriving Industries

Source: Wavebreakmedia / iStock

5. Breweries
> Employment growth 2007-2016: 123.0%
> Employment total: 58,580
> Wage growth 2007-2016: -30.3%
> Avg. annual wage: $50,366

Increasing demand for craft beer and microbrews over the past 10 years has fueled the rapid growth of the brewery industry. The number of breweries in the United States increased nearly seven-fold over the past decade, from 419 in 2007 to 2,843 in 2016. As the number of smaller, craft breweries surged over the past 10 years, the number of brewery employees increased at a slower pace than the number of brewery establishments, yet still more than doubled from 26,274 to 58,580 workers.

Small breweries are less profitable than large industrial brewers, and industry wages have fallen in recent years. While wages for all U.S. workers rose 20.6% from 2007 to 2016, the average annual wage for brewery employees fell 30.3%.

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4. Dry pea and bean farming
> Employment growth 2007-2016: 126.1%
> Employment total: 866
> Wage growth 2007-2016: 60.2%
> Avg. annual wage: $36,294

Dry pea and bean farming, which includes the harvesting of products such as garbanzo beans, lima beans, and lentils, is on the rise in the United States. The number of Americans working in dry pea and bean farms more than doubled over the past decade, from 383 in 2007 to 866 in 2016 — the largest percentage increase of nearly any industry. The production of dry beans, peas, and lentils are also up substantially over the last 10 years, and the annual average wage in the industry rose by 60% — three times the national wage growth rate. While the rapid growth of many U.S. agricultural industries over the past decade was due in large part to the increase in small, local farms, the number of dry pea and bean farms increased by just 16% from 2007 to 2016 — the second least of any industry on this list. Instead, growth has been partially driven by increased domestic demand for hummus, which is made from garbanzo beans, and increased demand for pulse crops from India.

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3. Translation and interpretation services
> Employment growth 2007-2016: 132.0%
> Employment total: 33,726
> Wage growth 2007-2016: -4.2%
> Avg. annual wage: $45,463

As its name suggests, the translation and interpretation services industry primarily consists of jobs related to translating written and spoken communication from one language to another, including sign language. While industry employment has fluctuated — as public sector industry employment has fallen along with the U.S. presence in Iraq and Afghanistan — overall, it has grown considerably with rising globalization and as foreign countries become more economically interconnected. The number of Americans working in translation and interpretation services climbed by 132%, from 14,500 to 33,700, in the last decade.

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2. Internet publishing and web search portals
> Employment growth 2007-2016: 182.7%
> Employment total: 202,909
> Wage growth 2007-2016: 74.2%
> Avg. annual wage: $205,315

The number of Americans working in newspaper publishing was nearly cut in half in the past decade. Meanwhile, the number of people employed in internet publishing nearly tripled. The shifts are part of the same phenomenon of media consumers increasingly preferring digital platforms. Internet-based news publishers, entertainment websites, online sports pages, and search engines are all examples of the types of employers that fall in the internet publishing and web search portal industry.

Along with overall employment, wages of industry workers have grown rapidly since 2007. The average salary among the 203,000 Americans working in internet publishing is $205,215 — up 74.2% from 2007, the largest salary increase of any industry on this list, and the highest salary. For reference, salaries across all U.S. industries climbed 20.6% over the same period.

Source: DGLimages / iStock

1. Services for the elderly and disabled
> Employment growth 2007-2016: 188.6%
> Employment total: 1,681,647
> Wage growth 2007-2016: -6.9%
> Avg. annual wage: $17,738

As the baby boom generation continues to age into retirement, demand for services for the elderly and disabled increases. The number of Americans aged 65 and older rose 30.3% over the past decade, from 37.7 million in 2007 to 49.1 million in 2016, and it is projected to increase to over 80 million by 2050. Over the last decade, employment in services for the elderly grew by 188.6%, from 582,623 workers in 2007 to nearly 1.7 million in 2016. Despite the increased demand, wages in the industry have fallen in the past 10 years. The average income for workers in services for the elderly and disabled fell by 6.9% since 2007, from $19,056 a year to $17,738, the lowest annual income on this list.

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