Biggest Employment Sector in 2024? Health Care

Of the 9.3 million projected new service-sector jobs by 2024, 3.8 million will be added to the health care and social assistance major sector, which will overtake the state and local government major sector and the professional and business services major sector to become the largest overall.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that health care occupations and industries will add the most jobs between 2014 and 2024 and will be the largest employment sector in the United States at the end of that period. BLS reported the estimates Dec. 8, saying the economic growth it projects will generate 9.8 million new jobs between 2014 and 2024, and service sectors will capture 94.6 percent of those jobs.

The projections are based on assumptions including a 5.2 percent unemployment rate in 2024 and labor productivity growth of 1.8 percent annually during the period; the median age of the labor force will continue to rise throughout. According to BLS, it was 37.7 in 1994, 40.3 in 2004, 41.9 in 2014, and is projected to be 42.4 in 2024.

Of the 9.3 million projected new service-sector jobs, 3.8 million will be added to the health care and social assistance major sector, which will overtake the state and local government major sector and the professional and business services major sector to become the largest overall.

BLS predicts construction will add 790,400 jobs by 2024. "Even with these additional jobs, employment in the construction major sector is not projected to return to the 2006 peak," according to its news release. Manufacturing employment, meanwhile, is predicted to fall at a 0.7 percent rate annually, "a more moderate decline than the 1.6 percent rate experienced in the prior decade," it says.

And BLS says some level of postsecondary education is usually required for entry into 11 of the 15 occupations it projects will grow fastest.

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