The Covid-19 pandemic has radically shifted the work landscape, as millions of Americans switched career paths or said goodbye to the office forever. While U.S. employment will experience stunted growth over the next 10 years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, certain jobs will be soaring in demand.
According to a new analysis from the BLS, the U.S. will add 11.9 million jobs through 2030, many in industries that were hit hardest by the pandemic. Food preparation and service-related jobs including servers, cooks and fast food employees are projected to add about 1.5 million jobs by 2030.
Wind turbine service technicians topped the list for the most in-demand jobs of the next decade, with that group of workers expected to jump by 68.2%. Other jobs in the ranking fall into three categories: renewable energy, data and health care. Interest in wind and solar energy has skyrocketed as installation costs drop and more countries prioritize reducing their carbon emissions, Bureau of Labor Statistics Division Chief Michael Wolf tells CNBC Make It.
Other occupations, such as information security analysts and data scientists, will become more popular as people continue to work from home and online. "As companies have more of their employees working remotely, they're going to invest more in software and systems that enable them to be productive in that environment," Wolf says. "There's also an increased emphasis on protecting their data and information online."
While the pandemic has created an unprecedented need for health care, continued demand for jobs in this sector is actually driven by an aging population, Wolf explains. "The baby boomer generation is much larger than previous generations, and they're starting to enter their 60s and 70s, when people depend on more health care services," he says. "We're going to see a huge increase in the number of people consuming those services."
Wolf also predicts that the country's labor participation rate will decline as workers age and fewer young people (those between the ages of 16 and 24) pick up jobs. "We're seeing a higher number of people decide to pursue post-high school or post-secondary education, so people are not entering the labor force as early as they were before," Wolf notes. "It also used to be a lot more common for people to have a part-time job while attending high school or college, but now, a lot more people are deciding to be full-time students and not work in the labor force at the same time."
Though the long-term projections are promising, the U.S. job market is facing more immediate challenges as a surge in Covid-19 cases disrupts economic recovery. After solid job growth in July, the economy has slowed, adding just 235,000 positions in August, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That number is a lot less than the 720,000 new hires economists had predicted.