Future Jobs and the Economic Divide

As the service sector continues to dominate manufacturing jobs, employers’ expectations of workers holding a bachelor’s degree or higher have risen. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has published long-term projections of jobs by the year 2026.

The BLS projections reiterate patterns of growing health care and clean energy jobs, as well as declining job availability in manufacturing and data entry occupations. An attributing factor is the fast-approaching retirement ages of the baby boom generation. Even the youngest of this generation will be retired by 2026. This article also provided the Bureau’s research on the fastest growing and declining occupations.

Occupation isn’t the only polarized feature about jobs according to the same published projections, income levels are also increasingly polarized. The growth in high- (>$70k salaries) and low-income (<$30k salaries) job industries have led to a decline in median-pay (between $30k and $70k) jobs.

Geography also plays a role in this divide. Since fast-growing industries are centered in large, urban areas, small towns will continue to struggle in finding jobs. On the other hand, gender was not found to be disproportionate in these fast-growing occupations. Women actually seem to dominate job sectors that pay more, such as nursing or physical therapy.

Overall, polarizations in the economy seem to be creating not only occupational divides, but also seem to be affecting income and geographic divides as well.