Last month’s jobs report showed that the economy added 156,000 jobs in August. The unemployment rate is 4.4 percent, which is hovering near a 16-year low.
The job market is strong right now, but there’s still a lot of anxiety among workers. Wages haven’t grown as quickly as we might have expected, given the low unemployment rate, and real wages are 7.5 percent lower than they were in 2006. The future of work is far from clear: advances in automation will usher in changes to the market.
Despite this, some jobs are growing fast. This summer, Forbes examined the latest data from the U.S. Current Population Survey in order to identify the fastest growing jobs in America. They also compared data from 2016 and 2015 to help determine the rankings. These were the top five fastest growing jobs.
The fastest growing occupation in the U.S. right now is construction laborer. It expanded by 152,000 jobs to employ over 1.8 million Americans last year. This is also a reflection of an expanding economy. The total value of U.S. construction projects jumped by $52 billion to $1.16 trillion in 2016.
Construction laborers are usually men. While some have attended trade school or community college, formal education isn’t required.
The job of personal care aide was determined to be the second-fastest growing role. The economy added 145,000 new jobs in this occupation last year, meaning that there were a total of 1,396,000 personal care jobs in 2016. The U.S. government expects that jobs in this field will continue to grow in the years ahead. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts 26 percent growth in personal care aide jobs between 2014 and 2024.
Women dominate this field. And, as was the case with construction laborers, no formal education is required to do the job.
Food preparation jobs are the third-fastest growing in the U.S. right now, gaining 142,000 new positions in 2016. The rise of these jobs indicates a larger economic shift. Now that more and more families eat their meals out, there are expected to be more food service jobs than manufacturing jobs by 2020.
There are similar percentages of men and women doing these jobs. And, like the other top-three positions on the list, workers are not required to have a formal education.
The fact that chief executives came out so high on this list says something about how businesses are expanding and developing in the current economy. This occupation added 132,000 jobs in 2016, bringing the total number of chief executives to 1,649,000.
These jobs are more often held by men than women. The job is high-paying and requires education and experience.
5. Software Developers (Applications and Systems Software)
Software development is a male-dominated field. Typical entry-level education is a bachelor’s degree, although some companies will consider skilled workers who don’t have a degree. Employers added 130,000 new jobs in this occupation last year, bringing the total number of software developer jobs close to 1.5 million.
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