The 10 Fastest Growing Jobs in America

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Anyone who's tested the job market at any point since 2008 understands that getting a job these days is a lot tougher than the pre-recession period. Companies have been considerably more skittish about overspending and expanding their business, which means far fewer top-notch jobs available than the unemployed would like to see.

As evidence, I point to the holy grail of all jobs data sources, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS.

Without question, the labor markets' most prized barometer, the unemployment rate, has shown a dramatic improvement from the height of the recession, when we saw the unemployment rate hit 10%. As of December 2013, the unemployment rate is now down to 6.7%.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, much of the improvement we've seen has come from a number of folks dropping out of the labor force, either through retirement, the desire to go back to college, or simply from being discouraged about finding work. In fact, between July 2008 and December 2013, there has been a decline in the number of total nonfarm payroll jobs based on BLS data. Furthermore, the average duration of unemployment has more than doubled in less than six years from 17 weeks to 37 weeks, discouraging unemployed workers from quickly finding another job.

The good news is that, according to the BLS' decades of data and thorough research, there are a number of occupations which are projected to see incredible jobs growth over the coming decade.

The BLS's employment projections (link opens a PDF), which were released in December, factor in projected jobs growth from 2012 to 2022. Overall expectations call for 15.63 million jobs to be created, a 10.8% improvement from 2012 with a number of occupational industries forecast to exceed expectations, as well as a number of occupational quagmires.

The 10 fastest growing jobs in America
Today, I want to focus on BLS's data of where the greatest opportunity will be over the next 10 years. In other words, the 10 fastest growing jobs over the next decade! Not only would targeting one of these fields be beneficial when it comes to finding work, but high-job-growth fields can often give us clues as investors as to which sectors we should be targeting with our money.

Here are the 10 fastest growing jobs over the next decade: 


Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)

Industrial-organization psychologists


Personal-care aides


Home health aides


Insulation workers


Interpreters and translators


Diagnostic medical sonographers


Brickmasons, blockmasons, stonemasons, tile and marble setters


Occupational therapy assistants


Genetic counselors


Physical therapist assistants


Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Right away there are some clear standouts and similarities.

Perhaps the most prevailing theme of the 10 jobs on the list is the expected job growth in the health-care sector. This growth isn't much of a surprise, with baby boomers starting to hit retirement age at the start of this decade, and a surge in health needs long foreseen before the beginning of this decade.

Source: NHS Employers, Flickr.

Job growth, however, has a chance of really taking off in the health-care industry with the recent passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which you probably know better as Obamacare. As Medicaid coverage is expanded in about half of U.S. states, and the individual mandate requires citizens to purchase health insurance, there's a good likelihood that more preventative visits will result in even greater need for health services. Therefore, don't be shocked to find that seven of the top 10 fastest growing occupations are dominated by the health-care industry.

But health care alone won't drive jobs growth. Another sector set to see a rapid uptick in jobs growth is construction, noted by the rapid forecasted rise in insulation workers as well as specialty brick, block, and stonemasons. Like health care, this one is sort of a no-brainer. As the population in the U.S. expands, the need for housing, whether it be standard homes or apartment rental communities and condos, is only going to rise, creating ample opportunity for specialization within this industry.

The final occupation represented on the list also makes a lot of sense on paper. The Internet has largely broken down economic borders over the past couple of decades and made global international trade a reality for a number of countries. This means dealing with clients domestically, as well as overseas, which is why there's a growing need for interpreters and translators.

"Great, so how does this help me invest better?"
The data might seem like a jumbled mess to some readers, but it's actually a roadmap for where investment dollars are likely to be headed over the coming decade. This means investments focused on the health-care or construction industries could be a smart move.

Within the health-care sector, and utilizing the seven occupations tied to the health-care sector, any company catering to at-home, personal care, or physical therapy/rehabilitation could make for an intriguing investment opportunity.

Hospitals are one such source of growth, especially with the expansion of insurance coverage under Obamacare. One that has repeatedly caught my attention is Select Medical (NYSE: SEM  ) , an operator of hospitals as well as rehabilitation and physical therapy facilities throughout the United States. Select Medical recently began paying out a dividend that currently tops 3%, which speaks to the likelihood that its cash flow should remain steady moving forward.

Medical-products suppliers may be another source of growth. Ultimately, a greater need for health-care jobs should result in greater medical-products usage. A company I'd suggest keeping your eyes on here is Teleflex (NYSE: TFX  ) , a developer of single-use medical products ranging from common diagnostic items to products used complex clinical procedures. As baby boomers age, diagnostic testing is going to become crucial to personalizing their care, so Teleflex looks well positioned to succeed moving forward.

In construction, there are two ways to approach this, with the understanding that skilled and specific laborers are likely going to reap the rewards. One would be to focus on a company that specializes in a specific aspect of construction. Here I'm partial to a company like Lumber Liquidators (NYSE: LL  ) , which specializes in various types of flooring. What makes Lumber Liquidators so unique is that it can actively market to consumers and contracting clients at the same time, making a pitch for the small-business customer while also satisfying residential customers. That ability to hit both spectrums, along with its low prices, should keep it among the markets top performers.

The other option is to look at things from a more macroeconomic perspective and just expect construction in general to rise. If that were the case, it could be the perfect scenario for a tools maker like Stanley Black & Decker (NYSE: SWK  ) , which would be expected to benefit from higher sales of tools to both consumers and enterprise customers if overall construction levels improve. Based on the BLS's major occupational levels, construction ranks third in terms of quickest growth rate over the next decade, so Stanley Black & Decker's sales could be on the cusp of soaring.

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Read/Post Comments (6) | Recommend This Article (11)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On February 02, 2014, at 3:08 PM, RickLV wrote:

    When Democrats are in power, the best jobs are;

    Unemployment guidance counselor

    Welfare office worker

    Tax preparer

    Soup kitchen worker

  • Report this Comment On February 03, 2014, at 12:31 AM, Bethh137 wrote:

    Here's the problem with these articles that boast about job growth in the health care industry...most people assume that it applies to all areas of health care and flock to the nearest for-profit school (like Capella) and enroll in a Medical Assistant or Phlebotomy certificate program. Here's the reality check:

    #1 - There is no high demand for either of these positions, and they are the first to go when the clinic or hospital is having labor cut backs. The RN's can do your job.

    #2) With these schools spitting out thousands of "graduates" a month flooding the market, any open position that is advertised generates over 800 resumes in the first 2 hours. The employers will not even read any farther if they see you are from one of these schools, not with all of the qualified candidates with degrees from colleges and universities.

    I can't count how many disgruntled former students of these schools I have met who now have $15,000 or more in student loans but cannot find a job. Anywhere. Not even the free clinics want them. Buyer beware. If you're still convinced that a medical assisting or phlebotomy career is for you, try to get in to the program at your local community college. Not only is this a much cheaper route, but they are most likely accredited (which most of the for-profit schools are NOT). If you cannot pass their strict entrance requirements, which the for-profit schools don't have - except for your money, it is probably not the career field for you.

  • Report this Comment On February 03, 2014, at 2:47 AM, ObamaStinks wrote:

    Number One - become an ObamaCare IRS agent - easy work, no competition, unionized to the wall, big fat pension and it's all paid by the hard working folks in the private sector.

  • Report this Comment On February 03, 2014, at 8:32 AM, Howdie wrote:

    Unfortunately most of the jobs are pretty darn low on the pay scale. Most have nowhere's near the income earning potential to be middle class in today's society.

    And Bethh137 is 100% correct. Cheap tech-schools are just going to take your money, not get you started in any job with growth potential. If you are lucking started with one tech-skill job, you are pigeon-holed into one repetitive job where you have no wage increase potential and high layoff potential.

  • Report this Comment On February 03, 2014, at 11:28 AM, typicaltroll wrote:

    I remember looking at the whateveryoucallit BLS big book of jobs.

    1999-2000? It's published each year, using data that's seven years old.

    As for the list, psychologists are new. Never seen before.

    Insulation workers and masons, those are new too.

    Masonry/bricklaying is an aquired skill.

    You gotta find someone that does it and work for them.

    It's the only way to learn the trade.

    And by the time you're trained, you'll find out that there's no demand.

    The BLS Big Book of Jobs is always wrong. And colleges rake in money, training people

    for careers that were thought to be hot, based on seven year old data, or should I say

    seven year old guesses.

    Let's not confuse the issue. BLS can predict whatever.

    Predictions are many. Jobs are few.

  • Report this Comment On February 08, 2014, at 10:46 AM, smvm87 wrote:

    When nation's skilled job market points to growth of only medical field ancillary jobs - we have got a problem. At some point there is going to be limited funds to pay for them and they are coming for tax payers with jobs.

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Sean Williams

A Fool since 2010, and a graduate from UC San Diego with a B.A. in Economics, Sean specializes in the healthcare sector and in investment planning topics. You'll usually find him writing about Obamacare, marijuana, developing drugs, diagnostics, and medical devices, Social Security, taxes, or any number of other macroeconomic issues.

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