Fastest-growing jobs from the last 10 years
As the Great Recession drifted into the history books, officially ending in 2009, American workers in a wide swath of industries had reason to cheer. Consumers were opening their wallets again; for instance, U.S. auto sales increased by more than 67% from 2009 to 2017 and the home remodeling market grew more than 50% during the same period.
Meanwhile, the population was growing, thanks in part to immigrant arrivals, and it was aging. These trends created new demands in several sectors, especially for health-care workers.
Technological innovation was another big theme of the decade. Fitbit launched in 2009 and the iPad debuted the following year. E-commerce was on a tear, as is evidenced by the rise of Amazon in our daily lives. In fact, according to the 2019 Internet Retailer Top 1000 Report, consumers were spending $517 billion online with U.S. merchants by 2018, and 40% of Americans use Amazon for their online shopping. Many new technologies weren’t as obvious to consumers as Fitbit or the iPad but all this development created new opportunities for workers in industries across the board.
Using May 2009 and May 2018 occupational data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Stacker compiled a list of 50 jobs that grew the most in the last 10 years and explained what these workers have been doing for the past decade. The jobs are ranked by their 10-year employment change, and any ties are broken by the total employment in 2018. Any occupations that listed “all other” in their names were omitted from the list because these are groupings of jobs and it is unclear which jobs are included in this grouping and how accurate the data is for each job.
Read on to see if your job was among those most in-demand over the past decade.
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#50. Engine and other machine assemblers
- 10-year employment change: 41.43%
- 2009 employment: 34,080
- 2018 employment: 48,200
- Annual median wage in 2018: $44,380
Construction, extraction, and car manufacturing are among the industries that rely on machines like engines and turbines built by assemblers. These assembly skills were needed as companies ramped up output in the years following the recession—even as the threat of robot assembly workers loomed.
- 10-year employment change: 41.72%
- 2009 employment: 13,160
- 2018 employment: 18,650
- Annual median wage in 2018: $104,340
Businesses and government agencies hire economists to analyze data and make forecasts about economic trends. Their number crunching and insights helped guide the country’s economic recovery, and leaders are looking to them today to understand the economic troubles, (like another recession) that could lie ahead.
#48. Rock splitters, quarry
- 10-year employment change: 41.98%
- 2009 employment: 3,430
- 2018 employment: 4,870
- Annual median wage in 2018: $34,750
Homeowners who installed countertops of granite, marble, slate, or other quarried stone during the remodeling boom of the past decade can thank rock splitters for removing their blocks from quarries. They do so using tools like jackhammers and wedges.
#47. Marketing managers
- 10-year employment change: 41.99%
- 2009 employment: 169,330
- 2018 employment: 240,440
- Annual median wage in 2018: $134,290
The continued growth of U.S. consumer spending has led to companies fighting for customer dollars. A share of that task has fallen on marketing managers who have a gamut of responsibilities that may include coordinating marketing efforts, identifying prospective customers, and developing pricing strategies.
#46. Training and development specialists
- 10-year employment change: 42.12%
- 2009 employment: 205,020
- 2018 employment: 291,380
- Annual median wage in 2018: $60,870
Training and development specialists create programs that build the skills and knowledge of employees. These initiatives have been critical as the labor market has tightened—particularly for attracting millennials to a specific workplace. Gallup found 59% of them say “opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them when applying for a job.”
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#45. Political scientists
- 10-year employment change: 42.57%
- 2009 employment: 3,970
- 2018 employment: 5,660
- Annual median wage in 2018: $117,570
Political scientists study topics like public opinion and the structure of governments, and their expertise has been used to help guide decision-making on increasingly significant public policies like health care and immigration. 2013 was an ominous year for the profession because a politician’s amendment to a spending bill restricted new political-science funding from the National Science Foundation. Luckily, for researchers that money was restored the following fiscal year.
#44. Interpreters and translators
- 10-year employment change: 42.85%
- 2009 employment: 40,000
- 2018 employment: 57,140
- Annual median wage in 2018: $49,930
As globalization and the number of immigrants to the U.S. grew over the decade, so did the need for interpreters and translators in places like boardrooms, schools, courtrooms, and hospitals. Though translator technology has improved, 90% of the machine translations in a 2017 contest against human translators reportedly came back “grammatically awkward,” highlighting the continuing need for workers in the field.
#43. Recreational vehicle service technicians
- 10-year employment change: 43.28%
- 2009 employment: 10,860
- 2018 employment: 15,560
- Annual median wage in 2018: $38,160
Sales of recreational vehicles (RVs) grew dramatically according to the RV Industry Organization, with RV shipments for 2018 totaling 483,672 units compared to 165,700 in 2009. Among other reasons, a desire to hit the open road for frequent weekend getaways that fit busy lifestyles and stay on it without breaking down spurred demand for service technicians.
#42. Directors, religious activities and education
- 10-year employment change: 44.09%
- 2009 employment: 15,060
- 2018 employment: 21,700
- Annual median wage in 2018: $40,810
In 2014, 53% of surveyed American adults told the Pew Research Center that religion was very important to them, and 24% said it was somewhat important. That translated into a large population to be served by directors, many of whom plan programs for religious education or activities of a denominational group and offer counseling.
#41. Subway and streetcar operators
- 10-year employment change: 46.28%
- 2009 employment: 6,050
- 2018 employment: 8,850
- Annual median wage in 2018: $68,170
NPR reported in 2010 that 35 light rail systems were operating in the U.S. Others have been planned and at least 13 metro areas have begun construction on their own system. New systems and other expanded lines presented fresh opportunities for rapid transit workers.
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