What Does the Next Decade of Jobs Look Like?

Last weekend on "Meet the Press," David Gregory's guests talked about the next decade in job creation. The general consensus seemed to be: We need to create new sustainable sectors to place the millions of displaced workers of this recession. Take a look at this exchange:

MR. GREGORY: What, what does a jobs picture look like, even when they start returning?

MS. [ANDREA] MITCHELL: The jobs will, first of all, not be the same kind of jobs, and that links to both immigration and to education.

Actually, tomorrow's jobs picture looks a lot like today's.


This is basically the story of two graphs. In the first graph, we learn about the last ten years. While health care, education and government payrolls grew over the last ten years, the rest of the jobs market shrank.
healthedgov.png In the second graph, we glimpse the next ten years. This is a graph from the Bureau of Labor Statistics projected the largest growing service-providing industries. Two of the top three are health care and education. Government is number six.

Chart 5. Percent change in wage and salary employment, service-providing industry divisions.

The Council of Economic Advisers also drew up ten-year job projections. Health care and education lead their list, too:
jobsadded0816.pngWhat's the takeaway? This is job market driven largely by health care, education and other government supported industries. It's possible that some industry will take off unexpectedly in the next ten years, the same way the Internet blossomed in the late '90s. But it's equally, if not more, likely that the next few years will look terribly familiar in terms of job creation. I sympathize with Mitchell's hope for new sustainable industries to drive employment in the next ten years. But it's worth pointing out that the BLS and CEA aren't holding their breath.

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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