5:56 PM Eastern - Thursday, January 7, 2010

Six of the top 10 fastest-growing jobs are low-wage

Jobs_250px.jpgToday, the Department of Labor government reported that weekly unemployment claims rose to 434,000--bringing total unemployment claims to record levels reaching 10.4 million this month. On Friday, when the Department of Labor will release its monthly employment report, the jobless rate is expected to rise slightly to 10.1 percent, after reaching 10 percent in November.

While there's no sugar-coating the fact that the U.S. has lost more than 7 million jobs since the recession began in November 2007, respected (and often-cited) economist Mark Zandi of Moody's Economy.com forecasts that the Recovery Act will add 2.5 million more jobs to the economy by the end of 2010 than would have existed without it. Looking at 2010 and beyond, Harvard University labor economist Lawrence Katz predicts that our economy will create 15 million new jobs over the next ten years.

The question then that arises is, what will these jobs be? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this is the list of the top 10 fastest-growing occupations they predict will supply the greatest number of new jobs over the next decade:

  1. Registered nurses
  2. Home health aides
  3. Customer service representatives
  4. Food preparation and serving workers
  5. Personal and home care aides
  6. Retail salespersons
  7. Office clerks
  8. Accountants
  9. Nursing aides, orderlies and attendants
  10. Post-secondary teachers

On what this future job market will look like, NPR noted:

Six of the top seven fastest-growing occupations are low-skill, low-wage jobs.

Katz says the challenge is to move those jobs up the skills ladder. There's no reason, he says, that home health care workers couldn't be better educated to provide patients with greater value and, as a result, command higher wages to improve their own living standards.

In line with Katz's comments, SEIU's 9-point jobs plan includes expanding worker training programs on a national scale, so that young people are prepared for new industries and workers can the learn skills necessary to compete for new jobs.

The fastest-growing job sector is BY FAR the service sector (which includes health care), which is expected to produce 96 percent of all new jobs in the next 10 years. BLS is projecting that under the broader umbrella of service occupations, the health care sector will be a leader in producing new jobs--4 million of them. For example, total employment of nursing/home health aides--who provide health-related care at home or in institutions for the ill, injured, disabled, or elderly--is projected to increase by 50 percent in the next decade.

Although nobody's job is 100 percent secure, there are certain professions that have proven to be more resistant in recessions. Read about these jobs here.

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