Here’s Where the Jobs Will and Won’t Be This Decade

Movie projectionists and home health care aides will be in demand

Hospital phlebotomist collecting blood sample from patient in lab
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The job market is looking bright right now, but the prospects for some industries this decade are sunnier than for others, a new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows.

Between 2020 and 2030, the BLS forecasts 11.9 million jobs will be added to the economy, bringing total employment to 165.4 million, up 7.75%. Part of that increase reflects the very low base in 2020, when the pandemic forced many businesses to shutter to slow the spread of COVID-19, and millions of workers lost their jobs. In April 2020, the unemployment rate spiked to 14.8% from 4.4% the prior month.

Now things are picking up, but keep in mind that all those new jobs won’t be spread evenly across the economy. So where should job hunters hunt? The good news is that hospitality and leisure—restaurants, hotels, arts and cultural institutions, and recreational places—is projected to be the fastest-growing sector, as people resume in-person activities and catch up on fun, the BLS said. Among the fastest of the fastest-growing: movie projectionist, which will be up 70%—albeit from a very low base, just 1,700 jobs in 2020, the first year of the pandemic and ground zero for movie theaters. 

And the bad news? Well, a look at where the future isn’t puts retail at the top of the list. Retailers are expected to lose 586,800 jobs, the most of any sector, in the 2020s. Many of those will be cashier positions, expected to decline by 336,400 overall. That’s because the popularity of e-commerce and new spending patterns established during the pandemic will further diminish the demand for brick-and-mortar stores.

The best bet for job seekers may be in the healthcare and social assistance industry, which includes nursing and residential care facilities, daycare, outpatient care, hospitals, and community food, housing, and emergency services. This sector is likely to add the most jobs, about 3.3 million through 2030. Home health and personal care aides, who take care of people with disabilities or chronic illnesses and help them with daily living activities, are expected to grow their ranks by nearly 1.13 million, or 33%.

“Factors that are expected to contribute to the large increase include rising demand for the care of an aging baby-boom population, longer life expectancies, and continued growth in the number of patients with chronic conditions,” BLS said. By 2030, all baby boomers will be at least 65 years old.

Have a question, comment, or story to share? You can reach Medora at medoralee@thebalance.com.