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Report: Fastest-growing occupations and metro areas

November 07 2013

U.S. job growth from 2013 to 2017 is projected to be slightly faster than the preceding post-recession years, but the outlook is much brighter for certain occupations and metropolitan areas, according to a report released today from CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists International.

“Barring any major shocks to the economy, the short-term job outlook in the U.S. will likely continue developments seen during the recovery -- specifically, significant growth for jobs that require a college education and occupations in healthcare, energy and technology,” said CareerBuilder CEO Matt Ferguson.

The U.S. workforce is projected to grow 4.4 percent from 2013 to 2017 – faster than the 3.5 percent growth in the 2009 to 2013 period, but still down from the pre-recession growth of 5.8 percent in the 2003 to 2007 period, according to the research. The strongest projected growth was often found in occupations supporting the healthcare and energy industries, or occupations related to information technology.

Additional survey findings include: 

  • At 5 percent, high-wage occupations ($21.14/hour and above) are expected to grow faster than low-wage ($13.83/hour and below) and medium-wage ($13.84/hour-$21.13/hour) occupations (4.7 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively). Of the 165 occupations projected to lose jobs, 75 percent are in the medium-wage category. With occupations in the middle of the wage spectrum growing at a slower pace, the projections support the popular argument that the labor market is becoming increasingly polarized between high- and low-wage jobs.
  • Occupations requiring college degrees are growing significantly faster than those that do not. Sixty-one percent of occupations expected to grow by 8 percent or more require a college degree. Associate degree and master’s degree occupations are each projected to grow 8 percent, while jobs requiring short-term on-the-job training trail at 4 percent. Bachelor’s degree jobs are projected to grow 6 percent.
  • Twenty-three of the 52 largest metro areas outpace the projected national rate of job growth, led by three in Texas (Austin, Houston, San Antonio); Raleigh, N.C., and Phoenix. Washington, D.C., is poised to have the largest share of new jobs coming from the high-wage sector, but San Antonio is expected have the fastest rate of high-wage growth.

Occupations related to healthcare and information technology dominate the report’s fastest-growing occupations. The fastest-growing occupations and the projected change in jobs from 2013 to 2017 include:

  1. Personal care aides, +21 percent
  2. Home health aides, +21 percent
  3. Market research analysts and marketing specialists, +14%
  4. Medical secretaries, +14 percent
  5. Emergency medical technicians and paramedics, +13 percent


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