The Next Decade’s Growth Industries

The U.S. Bureau of labor Statistics released a report forecasting the industries that will experience the greatest job growth and declines over the next decade. Their top 10 growth industries are:

  • Management, scientific and technical consulting services
  • Offices of physicians
  • Computer systems design and related services
  • Other general merchandise stores
  • Employment services
  • Local government, excluding education and hospitals
  • Home health care services
  • Services for the elderly and persons with disabilities
  • Nursing care facilities
  • Full-service restaurants

Several broad trends are driving the BLS forecast. The first is our aging population. Over the next decade over half of the nation’s 76 million baby boomers will move past the traditional retirement age. Aging boomers, coupled with longer life spans and relatively low birth rates, is resulting in the overall aging of the U.S. population.

The aging population is leading to increased demand for health care and health related product and services. This is why 4 of the top 10 industries are health related. A fifth growth industry, full service restaurants, also reflects demand from an aging population.

The second broad trend is the continued job shift towards the services sector and away from the goods producing sector. The BLS projects that more than half the decade’s new jobs will be in services.

The BLS top 10 employment decliners are:

  • Department stores
  • Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing
  • Motor vehicle parts manufacturing
  • Postal service
  • Printing and related support activities
  • Cut and sew apparel manufacturing
  • Newspaper publishers
  • Support activities for mining
  • Gasoline stations
  • Wired telecommunications carriers

The impact of technology, especially the Internet and automation technology, is causing much of the employment declines in these industries.

Demographic trends are by the far the easiest trends to predict. The aging population is almost guaranteed – nothing short of a major war or horrific plague can change this. So if they were filming the movie The Graduate today, Dustin Hoffman would hear “health care” instead of “plastics.”

About Steve King

Steve King is a partner at Emergent Research, research affiliate at the Institute for the Future and fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. He is one of the authors of the Intuit Future of Small Business report series.
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