Fastest And Slowest Growing Jobs Through 2020, According To BLS

February 2, 2012

Job growthIf you're looking to work in a burgeoning industry, you might want to consider health care, personal care, social assistance or construction, as these fields are expected to add the most jobs by 2020. This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' newest projections of occupations expected to grow the most and least between 2010 and 2020; details that were released on Wednesday.

Government analysts expect overall employment to grow by 14.3 percent over the decade, which means an additional 20.5 million jobs in the U.S., reported the BLS.

The health care and social assistance sector is expected to add 5.6 million workers, Forbes noted. Professional and business services follows, with the addition of 3.8 million workers. Construction should gain 1.8 million more workers, but still would remain depressed compared to pre-recession numbers.

As reported by Life Inc., the 10 occupations anticipated to see the greatest job growth by 2020 are:

  1. Registered nurses
  2. Retail sales persons
  3. Home health aides
  4. Personal care aides
  5. Office clerks, general
  6. Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food
  7. Customer service representatives
  8. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers
  9. Laborers and freight, stock and material movers, hand
  10. Post-secondary teachers

Registered nurses should add 711,900 workers, followed by retail salespeople, increasing by 706,800. Home health aides are expected to grow by 706,300 workers, personal care aides, by 607,000 and office clerks could see 489,500 new workers.

Occupations that typically need some type of higher education for entry are projected to increase the most during the decade. For example, jobs for which a master's degree is generally needed for entry, employment is expected to grow by 21.7 percent, the largest of any education category, the BLS summary indicated. The next fastest is jobs requiring a doctoral degree, at 19.9 percent, then jobs where an associate's degree is necessary, at 18.0 percent.

Furthermore, 17 of the 30 fastest-expanding jobs typically require some post-secondary education for entry.

Conversely, the slowest-growing industries are manufacturing and the federal government. Specific occupations are primarily are in agriculture and the postal service. Farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers are expected to lose 96,100 workers by 2020. Mail sorters, processors and machine operators will decrease by 68,900 and mail carriers by 38,100.

The 10 slowest-growing occupations through 2020, Forbes noted, are:

  1. Farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers
  2. Postal service mail sorters, processors and processing machine operators
  3. Sewing machine operators
  4. Postal service mail carriers
  5. Switchboard operators, including answering service
  6. Postal service clerks
  7. Fast food cooks
  8. Miscellaneous agricultural workers
  9. Data entry keyers
  10. Word processors and typists

To develop these detailed employment projections, BLS analysts employ six distinct steps. These processes examine the size and demographic makeup of the labor force; aggregate economic growth; commodity final demand; input output; industry output and employment; and occupational employment and openings.

Compiled Doresa Banning


"Employment Projections: 2010-2020 Summary,", February 1, 2012

"Here's Where the Jobs Will (and Won't) Be by 2020,", February 1, 2012, Allison Linn

"The Jobs With the Brightest Future,", February. 1, 2012, Jacquelyn Smith

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