A question I hear and see frequently is “where are the jobs?” so, when I woke up last Monday morning, December 12th, and found that The Daily, a New York Times podcast posted an episode covering the issue, I listened. The industries their reporter, Jeanna Smilek, says offer the most jobs now include:
- Restaurants and hospitality,
- Manufacturing, and
- The information industry.
This list appears short because each of the four items represents a broad swath of the economy. Restaurant and hospitality jobs—all those workers we come into contact with when we travel—represent 10.4% of the US jobs, according to the Times. The podcast reported that the number of restaurant and hospitality jobs is five times larger than the number of jobs in the tech sector—a sector that has had some well-publicized layoffs recently.
Let’s look at each category.
Restaurant and Hospitality Jobs.
More than one in ten American jobs are in the restaurant and hospitality sector. Although this number seems large, this information is consistent with our previous post, “20 Occupations with the Most Projected Job Growth” between 2020 and 2030.
The reason restaurant and hospitality jobs are in high demand may be due in part to changes in US demographics. All baby-boomers will be age 65 or more in the year 2030. As we grow older, we probably want more services.
While restaurant and hospitality jobs may not pay as well as say, information industry jobs, they do not require advanced technical education in many cases. Ambitious workers in these fields, though, can grow into managers, entrepreneurs or franchise-owners and earn substantially more money later in their careers.
Restaurant cooks, fast food and counter workers, and wait staff are among the top five jobs that the Department of Labor projected to have the most growth between 2020 and 2030.
The Times reporter indicated that, despite a downturn in the housing industry, there is still growth in construction because “a lot is already in the pipeline.”
This is only part of the story in our opinion. Construction cannot be outsourced to overseas providers. The work has to be done here. You cannot build a skyscraper and ship it to the US, to pick an obvious example.
We know from our past research and our everyday experience that many manufacturing jobs have been outsourced to low cost providers overseas. For example, can you remember purchasing clothing that was manufactured in the United States? A number of my clients that have worked in apparel manufacturing-related jobs now work in other fields.
Nonetheless, according to The Times, there is still demand for workers in fields such as motor vehicle and machinery manufacturing. Overseas companies, such as Komatsu where a client of mine works, build their heavy trucks in the US.
Initially, I was surprised that The Times placed manufacturing on its list of growth industries because we know many consumer products are made in China and elsewhere overseas. Even sophisticated products such as iPhones, iPads, and the VHF/UHF radios I use as a radio amateur are manufactured in China. And my fashion industry clients all do business with overseas factories.
So, what is driving the growth in American manufacturing? While I have not researched the statistics, I do have examples in my files of clients working in or moving into growth industries. My client at Komatsu works at a factory that assembles mining trucks. A recent fashion industry client moved from that industry to the high-demand construction industry based on her expertise in building vendor relationships and cutting costs—skills that are essential in any business.
Recent news reports have also highlighted increasing activity in US aerospace and defense manufacturing. This offers additional evidence that heavy and specialized products are being manufactured here.
The Information Industry
You have probably heard the US economy described as an “information economy” many times during the past 30 years. There is no reason to believe this will change any time soon. The information sector includes jobs that require a great deal of education according to The Times.
While jobs in the information sector often require college or advanced technical training, the jobs are remunerative and workers with the right technical skills are in high demand, according to our research. This includes workers such as software developers and software testers. These jobs, according to the DOL offered median salaries in excess of $100,000 per year in 2020. These jobs are also expected to be among the top five jobs with the most growth for the remainder of this decade.
An important reason why information industry jobs pay well, in our view, is that not everyone can do them. They require an innate ability to solve puzzles and to break complex processes into simple, logical steps. And some evolving kinds of information technology such as machine learning and quantum computing may require even more advanced skillsets that even fewer workers possess. So, while some of the best-paying, cutting edge, jobs may require advanced training, do not despair. There continue to be many manufacturing, restaurant and hospitality, and construction opportunities in the economy that require skills which may match your talents.