If you're likely to be in the job market at some point over the next decade, then I have some good news and some bad news.

The good news is that a number of occupations are projected to grow considerably over that time period. According to a recently released study by the U.S. Department of Labor, the average increase in new jobs among the 10 vocations with the highest forecasted numeric change in employment between 2012 and 2022 is 385,000.

By itself that may not seem like a lot, but that adds up to a total of nearly 4 million new jobs in these 10 professions alone. And if you include the next 10, the total figure shoots up to nearly 6 million new positions.


Number of Projected New Jobs Over the Next Decade

2012 Median Pay

Personal-care aides



Registered nurses



Retail salespersons



Home health aides



Food-service workers



Nursing assistants



Administrative assistants



Customer-service representatives



Janitors and cleaners



Construction laborers



Source: U.S. Department of Labor

The demand for personal-care aides is expected to generate the largest single increase, with an estimated need for more than 580,000 new workers. Registered nurses come in second at 526,800, followed by retail salespersons, food-service workers, nursing assistants, and administrative assistants.

It's worth noting that four of the top six are in the health-care sector, likely a reflection of the aging baby boomer population.

So what's the bad news? The bad news is that many of these jobs pay meager salaries. Take the top profession on the list. The median pay for personal-care aides in 2012 came in just below $20,000. Retail salespersons earned slightly more at $21,110, and home health aides clocked in at a median pay of $20,820.

Meanwhile, the highest-paying position on the list, registered nurses, earned an increasingly respectable median income of $65,470 in 2012, while the lowest-paying positions, those in food service, earned a median income of only $18,260 over the same time period.

For investors in the stock market, if not prospective job applicants, it's hard to deny that the creation of new positions is good news. In an economy that's powered predominantly by consumer spending, any increase in employment is a positive sign, and one that's bound to buttress the S&P 500 (^GSPC -0.04%), as well as other indexes.

The only question is whether the meager salaries will potentially counteract the numeric growth in positions. The answer to that question remains to be seen.