I've got one two words for you: Heath care. That seems to be the conclusion of this report (PDF) from the Council of Economic Advisers, which comes complete with graphs detailing how tomorrow economy will look very much like today's, and how health care will continue to dominate job growth over the next decade.
The first thing to note is that the Council foresees few major structual changes to the overall jobs economy. The most important exception is that clean energy jobs are expected to skyrocket, with more than 50 percent growth predicted between 2000 and 2016. Besides that, growth by industry is expected to be fairly constant, as you can see in this graph.
Comparing the percentage distribution of workers across industries in 2008 vs. 2016 -- that is, comparing the 2008's blue bar to 2016's teal bar -- suggests that while business and financial services will take the biggest hit, health and education services are expected to increase by an even higher percentage. Most other industries percentage of the jobs market is mostly unchanged. Manufacturing, they predict, will fall by less than expected.
The graph below projects the industries where we can expect to see the most jobs added. From nursing to physicians to "other medical services," it's quite clear that health care dominates the list.
Leading the pack is a group called "other medical services and dentists," which the reports counts as home health care, outpatient care, and medical and diagnostic laboratories subsectors. The report foresees especially dramatic growth in what it calls the "health support" industry, with its focus on our aging population. It's also quite clear from this graph that the Council expects construction to add millions of jobs with the recession ends and residential and commercial contracts pick up.
The thing that struck me about the Council's study was how unsurprising its results were. To me, there are basically three observations: 1) Health care growth will continue to embrace millions of jobs; 2) Despite small drops in manufacturing and financial services, we can expect the job distribution of 2016 to look very much like 2008; and 3) Construction will come roaring back in the next decade, down from the doldrums of the housing bubble implosion.