Employment Projections: 2014 to 2024

Every two years, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics updates their employment projections.  The information appearing in this article was first published in December 2015, and includes job growth forecasts for the years 2014 through 2024.

This article is going to summarize some of the research conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in conjunction with the Department of Labor.  The information includes several projections, including workforce demographics, job growth trends, education, training, and replacements.

Workforce Demographics

According to this latest release, the civilian labor force is expected to grow by 6.5% over a ten-year timeframe from 150 million to just over 160 million individuals.  This statistic includes all workers over the age of 16.  The fastest rate of growth will occur for individuals age 55 and older, which will experience a 19.8% rate of growth.  This increase is a direct result of an aging baby boomer population.

The labor force continues to grow in diversity too.  Back in 1994, Hispanics represented 9.1% of the workforce and this number is expected to grow to nearly 20% by 2024, which is a 28.0% increase over the next ten years.

Employment Growth Hot Spots

Between 2014 and 2024, the following six occupational groups are projected to provide over 50% of the new jobs growth rate:

  • Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations
  • Healthcare Support
  • Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations
  • Personal Care and Service
  • Sales and Related Occupations
  • Education, Training, and Library Occupations 

The above occupations are expected to grow by nearly 5.5 million jobs over this ten-year timeframe.  The only major occupational group forecasted to decrease is Farming, Fishing, and Forestry, which is expected to decline by 5.9%.

Top Ten Fastest Growing Occupations

This first table of information includes the ten fastest growing occupations in terms of numbers of jobs created.

Top Ten Occupations in Terms of New Jobs Created

Occupation Thousands Of Jobs
Personal Care Aides  458.1
Registered Nurses  439.3
Home Health Aides  348.4
Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers  343.5
Retail Salespersons  314.2
Nursing Assistants  262.0
Customer Service Representatives  252.9
Cooks, Restaurant  158.9
General and Operations Managers  151.1
Construction Laborers  147.4

 As the above table illustrates, the vast majority of new jobs will be in the personal care and home health aide occupations.  While the above table shows how many new jobs will be created from 2014 through 2024, there's another way to look at these projections.  The table below provides insights into the occupations that will experience the largest number of job openings.  This includes both the growth in the number of new jobs, plus the openings created when an existing job is in need of a replacement due to employee turnover.

Top Ten Occupations in Terms of Job Openings Created

Occupation Thousands of Openings
Retail Salespersons 1,917.2
Cashiers 1,523.8
Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers 1,364.6
Waiters and Waitresses 1,255.0
Registered Nurses 1,088.4
Customer Service Representatives 888.7
Office Clerks 756.2
Stock Clerks and Order Fillers 689.0
General and Operations Managers 688.8
Janitors and Cleaners 605.2

A third way to look at this employment information has to do with growth rates.  Instead of defining a hot job as those positions with the largest number of openings, here it's defined as the percentage increase in the need for a particular job type.  For example, by 2024, the data tells us there will be 46.7% more insulation workers than there were in 2014.

Top Ten Fastest Growing Occupations

Occupation Increase over 10 Years
Wind Turbine Service Technicians 108%
Occupational Therapy Assistants 43%
Physical Therapist Assistants 41%
Physical Therapist Aides 39%
Home Health Aides 38%
Commercial Divers 37%
Nurse Practitioners 35%
Physical Therapists 34%
Statisticians 34%
Ambulance Drivers and Attendants 33%

It's also important to understand the training or education required for the above occupations.  Of the 9.8 million jobs that will be created from 2014 through 2024, 22.3% of them only require short-term on-the-job training.  This is because many of these positions include cashier, waiter / waitress, and retail jobs.

New Jobs by Training Requirements

Training New Jobs
None 37.0%
Moderate-Term On-The-Job 26.8%
Short-Term On-The-Job 22.3%
Long-Term On-The-Job 7.8%
Internship / Residency 4.3%
Apprenticeship 1.8%

Finally, as the table below demonstrates, over 35% of jobs only require a high school diploma.  As would be expected, jobs that do not require a high school diploma are the lowest paying jobs, while those requiring a doctoral degree pay nearly $100,000 per year.

New Jobs by Education

Education New Jobs Median Salary
No Formal Educational Credential 27.1% $20,730
Some College, No Degree 2.5% $33,250
Postsecondary Non-Degree Award 6.0% $34,880
High School Diploma or Equivalent 36.5% $35,540
Associate's Degree 2.3% $49,470
Master's Degree 1.7% $65,330
Bachelor's Degree 21.2% $69,260
Doctoral or Professional Degree 2.7% $98,940

To gain a better understanding of how much any of the above mentioned jobs are worth; our article on the topic of high paying jobs contains salary information for hundreds of job types.

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