So Where Will Those Jobs Be?

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Some of the happiest people in the world come home smelling to high heaven at the end of the day.

“Bruce Almighty” (2003)

Job growth reigns supreme amongst political discussion. Where will we find these future jobs and how do we prepare for them?

Charles Blow’s recent Op-Ed article in The New York Times, “They, Too, Sing America” discusses some compelling data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job opportunities for the next decade may surprise you.

They are women whose skin glistens from steam and sweat, whose hands stay damp from being dipped in buckets and dried on aprons. They are men who work in boots with steel toes, the kind that don’t take shining, the kind that lean over and tell stories when you take them off.

They are people whose bodies melt every night in a hot bath, then stiffen by sunrise, so much so that it takes pills for them to get out of bed without pain.

…half of the top 30 occupations expected to see the largest job growth over the same period, and seven of the top 10, are low-wage or very low-wage jobs. Only eight even require a degree. Most simply require on-the-job training.

Here’s the top 30, ranging from very low to very high wage earners. Educators everywhere should pay careful attention to this list, as it is our responsibility to enhance opportunities for our students as they prepare for the future.


Some of these jobs are those described by Charles Blow as “without champions.” Whether these jobs bring happiness depends upon the individual. After a hard day’s work, do “some of the happiest people in the world come home smelling to high heaven at the end of the day”?

There is more to this story of course. What about science education? Consider this:

The Economics and Statistics Administration of the Department of Commerce issued a report this week that touted STEM jobs as “driving our nation’s innovation and competitiveness,” having higher wages, and projected to grow “by 17 percent from 2008 to 2018, compared to 9.8 percent growth for non-STEM occupations.”


  1. #1 Riptide
    July 17, 2011

    I remain deeply suspicious of any kind of projection for the economy or jobs. Of the economics I’ve studied and the economists I’ve known, I’ve learnt nothing to give me the impression that the discipline is anything more than sooth-saying. As a skeptic, I laugh at frauds like John Edward, while I’m also concerned for the material harm he does to people desperate for his ‘expertise’.

    No less should we be for Alan Greenspan or Milton Friedman. I’ve watched these men (and others, including many women) abuse my own beloved subject of mathematics to make dubious claims the innumerate swallow whole, because hey, maths are *magic*, and these people are our modern-day wizards. So it does not surprise me that these two reports are in conflict, and while I’m prejudiced to the latter field from personal preference, I’ve no reason to think its predictions are any less based on guesswork than the former list.

    And while such scrying might bring comfort to some, it is a false comfort which, like religion, we would be better off abandoning.

  2. #2 Marx
    July 18, 2011

    Good article for jobless people.

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