The U.S. workforce is growing and evolving as some kinds of jobs disappear and others become more widespread.
A recent study by the Department of Labor says the number of manufacturing jobs will continue a long-term decline between now and 2024. Other experts say some U.S. manufacturing jobs have gone to nations with lower wage costs. Far more jobs have vanished because growing efficiency from automation and robots means fewer people are needed in the manufacturing process.
The Labor Department projects that manufacturing employment will decline at an annual rate of seven-tenths of a percent per year over the next few years. While that troubles workers, it is a slower rate of decline than the 1.6 percent annual decline seen in recent years.
Job growth predictions
There is a similarly mixed picture in the construction sector. Builders are projected to add nearly 800,000 U.S. jobs by 2024. Some builders say they cannot find certain highly skilled workers for their projects; but, the job gains will not be enough to bring employment back to the peak it saw in 2006, right before severe problems in the housing sector helped spark a recession.
These experts also project that the majority of new jobs created in the coming years will be in the services sector, particularly health care and social assistance.
Health care and technical occupations are predicted to be the two fastest growing occupations groups in the near future. Together, they could have a gain of 2.3 million jobs over the next eight years, which is about one out of four new jobs.
The changes in the job market come as the overall workforce is growing at about half a percent a year and is expected to expand to nearly 164 million people.