Occupational Projections 2010-2020: Fastest Growing, Most Openings, Highest Wages, Declining

The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center is releasing a series of reports that project long-term occupational growth.

The center projected numbers for the fastest growing occupations, occupations with the most openings and declining occupations in 2010-2020.

According to the report, biomedical engineers will be the fastest growing occupation between 2010 and 2020. MERIC predicts the occupation will have a 66.67% change, adding 132 new growth openings.

Carpenter helpers and brickmason, blockmason, stonemason and tile and marble setter helpers will also see more than a 50% change, with 177 and 323 new openings from occupation growth, respectively. Current mean annual wages for the projected top nine fastest growing occupations are between almost $30,000 and almost $60,000. The 10th fastest growing occupation is for diagnostic medical monographers with the mean annual wage at $62,851.

The report shows that there will be the most openings for cashiers, totaling 35,857 openings, including 33,312 replacements and 2,545 new growth positions.

Retail salespersons, combined food preparation and serving workers (including fast food), waiters and waitresses will also have more than 25,000 openings, according to the report.

According to the report, these four occupations with the most openings typically require “less than high school” education.

To round out the top five, there will be 24,468 openings for registered nurses, and 12,187 of those openings will be considered growth. Registered nurses are projected to have the highest number of openings due to growth.

The report also shows occupational projections by mean annual wages. The occupations with highest wages are in medical fields.

Anesthesiologists, surgeons and general internists make more than $247,137, $245,280, $210,654 a year on average, with 136, 87 and 118 projected growth openings respectively.

The study projects 95 declining occupations. Postal service mail sorters, processors and processing machine operators will lose the most jobs — 1,821 out of 3,750 jobs, a 48.56% decrease.

Postal service mail carriers will lose 888 jobs (12.02%), switchboard operators, including answering service will lose 808 jobs (28.30%) and fast food cooks will lose 767 jobs (10.21%).

The center makes future estimates by first collecting historic industry employment to identify trends. Then, with the trends and “other factors,” the center projects future industry employment. It then gathers occupational employment within industries (or staffing patterns) and produces occupational employment projections.

Historic industry employment data comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, which uses information from the Unemployment Insurance Program led by the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. MERIC supplements that data with additional employment information including self-employment, agriculture, religious organizations and railroads.

The center uses its own Occupational Employment Statistics Survey to determine staffing patterns. The survey is a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and state cooperative program. The survey looks at about 30,000 establishments out of about 168,000 in Missouri over a three-year period.

MERIC then applies staffing patterns to the base and projected year industry employment for occupational projections. Based on factors that might change occupational employment over time (increasing, decreasing or static occupational importance within an industry) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the center makes adjustments to staffing patterns to better predict future staffing needs.

More information about the projections, including information about annual openings, typical education and experience required for each occupation and career grades are also available in the full report.

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