Top 10 Growing and Shrinking US Industries

December 28, 2009

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Automotive | Financial Services | Newspapers | Retail & E-Commerce | Staffing | Trade Shows & Events

A report this month from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that department stores, newspaper publishing and the postal service are among the top 10 industries in the US headed for extinction, while management, scientific and technical consulting, employment services, full-service restaurants and a range of healthcare-related service industries will experience the most wage and salary employment growth by 2018.

According to the BLS, total employment is projected to increase by 15.3 million, or 10.1%, during the 2008-18 period.? The projections show an aging and more racially and ethnically diverse labor force, and employment growth in service-providing industries. More than half of
the new jobs will be in professional and related occupations and service occupations. In addition, occupations where a post-secondary degree or award is usually required are expected to account for one-third of total job openings during the projection period.

The projected growth for the 2008-18 period is larger than the increase of 10.4 million over the 1998-2008 period, or 7.4%, BLS reported. The relatively slow growth rate for the earlier 10-year period was affected by the recession which began in December 2007, and the projected growth rate is higher than would otherwise be expected because the 2008 starting point is a recession year, BLS said.

Growth Sectors and Industries

Projected employment growth is concentrated in the service-providing sector, continuing a long-term shift from the goods-producing sector of the economy, the BLS reported. From? 2008 to 2018, service-providing industries are projected to add 14.6 million? jobs, or 96% of the increase in total employment. The two industry sectors? expected to have the largest employment growth are professional and business
services (4.2 million) and health care and social assistance (4.0 million), according to the BLS.

Goods-producing employment, as a whole, is expected to show virtually no growth. While employment in the construction industry is projected to increase by 1.3? million, declines in manufacturing (-1.2 million) and mining (-104,000) will? nearly offset this growth. By 2018, the goods-producing sector is expected to? account for 12.9% of total jobs, down from 17.3% in 1998 and 14.2% in 2008.

Three of the 10 industries projected to have the most employment growth are in professional and business services: management, scientific, and technical consulting; computer systems design; and employment services. Taken together, these three industries are expected to add 2.1 million jobs.

Four of the top 10 projected gainers are in health care and social assistance industries. Employment in offices of physicians, home health care, services for the elderly and persons with disabilities, and nursing care facilities is expected to grow by 2.0 million.


The top 10 growth industries:

  1. Management, scientific and technical consulting services
  2. Offices of physicians
  3. Computer systems design and related services
  4. Other general merchandise stores
  5. Employment services
  6. Local government, excluding education and hospitals
  7. Home health care services
  8. Services for the elderly and persons with disabilities
  9. Nursing care facilities
  10. Full-service restaurants

Industries in Decline

Of the 10 tracked industries with the largest projected employment declines, four are in the manufacturing sector and two each are within retail trade and information, BLS said. The largest decline among the industries tracked is expected to be in department stores, with a loss of 159,000 jobs, followed by manufacturers of semiconductors (-146,000) and motor vehicle parts (-101,000).


The cut-and-sew apparel manufacturing industry is expected to experience the highest overall percentage decline (57%), while newspaper publishing will decline 25%.

The top 10 industries expected to experience the steepest employment declines:

  1. Department stores
  2. Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing
  3. Motor vehicle parts manufacturing
  4. Postal service
  5. Printing and related support activities
  6. Cut and sew apparel manufacturing
  7. Newspaper publishers
  8. Support activities for mining
  9. Gasoline stations
  10. Wired telecommunications carriers

Additional findings from the report:

  • The civilian labor force is projected to grow by 12.6 million between 2008 and 2018, to 166.9 million persons. Slower population growth and a decreasing over all labor force participation rate are expected to contribute to a slowdown in labor force growth.
  • As Baby Boomers grow older and continue their trend of increased labor force participation, the number of persons ages 55+ in the labor force is expected to increase by 12 million, or 43% percent, during the 2008-18 period. Those ages 55+ are projected to make up nearly one-quarter of the labor force in 2018.
    Young people (age 16-24) are expected to account for 12.7% of the labor force in 2018, and persons in the prime-age working group (ages 25- 54) to account for 63.5% of the 2018 labor force.
  • As a result of higher population growth among minorities because of higher birth rates and increased immigration – along with higher labor force participation rates by Hispanics and Asians – the share of the labor force held by minorities is projected to increase significantly.
  • Hispanics (who can be of any race) will join the labor force in greater numbers than non-Hispanics. The number of Hispanics in the labor force is projected to grow by 7.3 million or 33.1%. Their share of the labor force will expand from 14.3% in 2008 to 17.6% in 2018.
  • Two major occupational groups–professional and related occupations and service occupations–are projected to provide more than half of the total employment growth during the 2008-18 period. Production occupations are projected to decline.
  • The 30 detailed occupations with the largest gains in employment are expected to account for nearly half of all new jobs, and 17 of these occupations are professional and related occupations and service occupations. The detailed occupation projected to add the most jobs is registered nurses (582,000), followed by home health aides (461,000) and customer service representatives (400,000).
  • All but three of the top 30 fastest-growing detailed occupations are found within professional and related occupations and service occupations. Seventeen of these rapidly growing occupations are related to healthcare or medical research.
  • Of the 30 tracked occupations projected to have the largest employment declines, 12 are production occupations and 11 are office and administrative support occupations.

About the projections: The BLS report focuses on four areas for which BLS develops projections: labor force, industry employment, occupational employment, and education and training.

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