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The number of jobs in the United States is projected to increase by 8.3 million between 2021 and 2031, but not all jobs or industries will grow at the same rate. Looking at the fastest-growing occupations and jobs in the United States doesn’t just help guide people trying to figure out what career path to follow, it can also provide insight into the country and its economy.

Jobs vs. occupations: What's the difference?

An occupation is a broad category that includes many similar jobs, often requiring similar skills, education, or training. For example, teaching is an occupation that can include jobs like elementary school teacher, high school math teacher, or college professor. Some occupations are specific to just one or two industries, but many span across several industries. For example, teachers may work in schools, government, healthcare, or various other industries.

What are the fastest-growing occupations in America?

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics projections, these occupations will see the greatest percentage change in employment by 2031.

  • Nurse practitioners: Nurse practitioners hold the fastest-growing jobs in the country, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects will grow 46% by 2031. Nurse practitioners coordinate patient care and deliver care in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and clinics. As the older population in the United States grows, particularly as the baby boom generation ages and nurses retire, the demand for more workers will continue to increase. They earn $120,680 annually, or nearly $60 an hour, at the median in 2021.
  • Wind turbine service technicians: Just behind nurses are wind turbine service technicians, whose jobs are projected to grow 44% by 2031. These workers maintain and repair wind turbines, an increasingly important part of the country’s shift to alternative energy sources. As wind power costs have decreased and become competitive with fossil fuels, more wind turbines have been built, requiring more workers to service them. Pay is $56,260 a year at the median.
  • Theater workers: Next on the list are people who work in theaters: ushers, lobby attendants, ticket takers, whose jobs are projected to grow 41% over the next decade, and motion picture projectionists, which are projected to grow 40%. These jobs are less well-paid, earning a median of $24,440 and $29,350 per year, respectively.
  • Restaurant cooks: The need for restaurant cooks is expected to grow by 37%, a job that pays just above $30,000 annually.
  • Data scientists: Data scientist jobs are projected to grow 36%, a job that commands $100,910 in annual pay at the median, growth will be driven by the need to mine and analyze the increasingly large amount of data available.
  • Athletes, umpires, and referees: Thanks to the expansion of sports leagues, increasing public interest in sports, and the rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic, athletes and sports competitors are expected to increase 36%, while umpires, referees, and other sports officials will likely grow by 32%. While many star athletes make millions, median pay is still $77,300 annually. Officials, on the other hand, earn $35,860 a year.
  • Information security analysts: Information security analyst jobs are expected to grow 35% thanks to the increasing frequency of cyberattacks and the rising use of online shopping. This job pays a median $102,600 annually.
  • Statisticians: A similar trend is expected to increase the number of jobs for mathematicians and statisticians, who make $95,570 yearly at the median. Jobs are projected to grow by 33%.
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Which occupations are adding the most jobs?

There are 924,000 new jobs projected for home health and personal care aides by 2031—more than double the amount of any other occupation. Restaurant cooks, software developers, and fast food and counter workers are also projected to grow considerably in total employment. Here are the top 20 occupations projected to add the most total jobs by 2031:

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What are the fastest-growing industries in the US?

Seventy-five percent of major industry sectors (excluding agriculture and special industries) are projected to grow by 2031. Similar trends among the fastest-growing jobs are also driving the fastest-growing industries. Leisure and hospitality, health care and social assistance, mining, and educational services have the most projected employment growth.

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Which states will see the fastest job growth?

The top 10 states that are projected to have the fastest job growth are:

  1. Utah
  2. New York
  3. Arizona
  4. Colorado
  5. Massachusetts
  6. Nevada
  7. Texas
  8. Washington
  9. Florida
  10. Tennessee
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Where does this data come from?

Data on job growth comes from the most recent Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2022. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has collected data on the growth or contraction of hundreds of occupations since 1949, when the first Occupational Outlook Handbook, which was a physical book, was published. It went digital in 1995. Since 1984, the BLS has relied on employment data from its Occupational Employment Statistics survey to make its projections. It also uses various other federal data sources to inform Americans about the wages they can expect in these jobs.

Data on state job growth comes from Projections Central, which is sponsored by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and relies on data from labor departments in each state.

These datasets continue to help Americans find jobs that will be in high demand and earn them enough to make ends meet. But they also paint a picture of where the economy is headed. Healthcare will become increasingly important as the population ages, while more workers will be employed in the construction and maintenance of green technologies as the country responds to climate change. The way Americans shop and do business online has opened up both dangers and opportunities for companies, leading to growth in jobs handling data and information security.

Employment Projections
Long-Term Occupational Projections (2020-2030)