America's 10 Fastest-Growing (and Fastest-Shrinking) Jobs

The government predicts that healthcare occupations will be booming, while postal service jobs will disappear

615_Health_Aide_Reutes.jpg

Reuters

If you're looking for guaranteed employment during the next eight years, become a nurse. Really. It's that simple.

Recently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' released its list of the thirty occupations where it expects the greatest net-job growth through 2020, and registered nurses are the very top. Over the course of this decade, the government expects an additional 711,900 will be hired to help care for the ballooning medical needs of America's aging population --  a 26% increase from 2010. Best yet, the BLS says many parts of the country are experiencing a nurse shortage, meaning talent will come at a premium. 

As you probably expected, the nursing boom is just one piece of a larger trend: The rise of the healthcare sector. Overall, eight of the 30 top-growing occupations are connected with medicine and personal care. From richly paid surgeons to low-wage home health aides, those eight occupations are expected to add more than 3 million jobs The BLS projrects the United States to gain 20.4 million new jobs overall by 2020.

Beyond healthcare, the BLS expects that service industries will continue to add workers at a healthy clip. The biggest trend is that employers will add jobs they can't outsource or hand over to a computer. There will be plenty of opportunities for college graduates in education, accounting, and corporate sales. On the low end of the pay-scale, there will be jobs for retail workers, waiters and waitresses, and janitors.

Who should be bracing for layoffs? Postal workers, for one. The BLS also releases a list of the top 30 shrinking occupations, and it's largely split into two categories. On one hand, there are occupations that are becoming irrelevant thanks to advances in technology. The death of paper mail means less need for mail sorters, carriers, and clerks. Office workers such as typists, switchboard operators, and file clerks are becoming redundant. And advances in farm productivity mean we won't need as many agricultural workers. On the other hand, manufacturing jobs will disappear in industries facing competition from cheap labor overseas, such as apparel, semiconductors, paper goods, and electronics. 

For the most part, the list of occupations expected to see the biggest employment declines is populated by jobs that require a high school diploma or less. But one occupation dominated by college grads does make it on there. That would be reporting. Maybe there'll be a few PR gigs open at all those hospitals. 

>

Presented by

Jordan Weissmann is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic.

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This wildly inventive short film takes you on a whirling, spinning tour of the Big Apple

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Faces of #BlackLivesMatter

Scenes from a recent protest in New York City

Video

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life

The Supreme Court justice talks gender equality and marriage.

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Business

Just In