CareerBuilder/Emsi study shows job gains in high-, low-wage occupations, losses in middle-wage

by Brianna Crandall — September 9, 2016 — The U.S. economy is expected to add 7,232,517 jobs over the next five years — a 5% increase — but a new study from human capital solutions provider CareerBuilder and its analysis company Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (Emsi) shows that workers in middle-wage jobs may not find as many opportunities in the area of job gains.

High-wage and low-wage occupations are each projected to grow 5% from 2016 to 2021, but middle-wage jobs are only estimated to grow 3%. At the same time, 61% of the 173 occupations expected to lose jobs over the next five years are in the middle-wage category.

Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder and co-author of The Talent Equation, pointed out:

The U.S. is facing a sustained trend of declining middle-wage employment that has serious implications not only for workers, but for the economy overall. If we can’t find a way to re-skill and up-skill workers at scale, middle-wage workers will become increasingly susceptible to unemployment or will have to move into lower-paying roles that may not support them and their families. This can have a negative ripple effect on consumer spend, housing, investing and other key financial indicators.

Occupations adding and losing jobs by wage category

For the purpose of this job gains and losses study, CareerBuilder and Emsi use the National Employment Law Project definition, which defines low-wage jobs as those that pay $13.83 per hour and below; middle-wage jobs earn $13.84 – $21.13 per hour; and high-wage occupations make $21.14 per hour and higher.

Among the building industry-related occupations included in the lists:

  • In the high-wage category, jobs for construction managers and real estate sales agents are expected to decline;
  • In the middle-wage category, jobs for maintenance and repair workers are expected to grow, but jobs for carpenters are expected to decline; and
  • In the low-wage category, jobs for security guards and janitors and cleaners are expected to grow.

The following is a list of occupations that rank among the top for projected growth or declines in employment for each wage category from 2016 to 2021. Each of the growing occupations listed are those adding at least 50,000 jobs over the next five years.

 

Growing High-Wage Occupations

Occupation2016 Jobs2021 JobsJobs Added
2016 – 2021
2016 – 2021
% Change
Software Developers, Applications772,195861,12288,92712%
Computer Systems Analysts600,001671,24571,24412%
Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists532,336590,36358,02711%
Management Analysts798,484870,71372,2299%
Registered Nurses2,870,3403,116,957246,6179%

 

Declining High-Wage Occupations

Occupation2016 Jobs2021 JobsJobs Added
2016 – 2021
2016 – 2021
% Change
Postal Service Mail Carriers303,325279,023(24,302)(8%)
Reporters and Correspondents47,50144,063(3,438)(7%)
Construction Managers368,245350,774(17,471)(5%)
Real Estate Sales Agents415,006400,417(14,589)(4%)
First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating
Workers
622,435617,020(5,415)(1%)

 

Growing Middle-Wage Occupations

Occupation2016 Jobs2021 JobsJobs Added
2016 – 2021
2016 – 2021
% Change
Medical Assistants631,435701,05669,62111%
Customer Service Representatives2,674,9252,846,989172,0646%
Maintenance and Repair Workers1,466,9441,535,16168,2175%
Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers1,926,8862,009,13382,2474%
Office Clerks3,365,0393,489,518124,4794%

 

Declining Middle-Wage Occupations

Occupation2016 Jobs2021 JobsJobs Added
2016 – 2021
2016 – 2021
% Change
Printing Press Operators174,311159,083(15,228)(9%)
Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers494,879458,732(36,147)(7%)
Travel Agents77,68372,789(4,894)(6%)
Carpenters1,053,2731,031,359(21,914)(2%)
Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks1,780,1511,752,270(27,881)(2%)

 

Growing Low-Wage Occupations

Occupation2016 Jobs2021 JobsJobs Added
2016 – 2021
2016 – 2021
% Change
Home Health Aides992,1341,179,527187,39319%
Cooks, Restaurant1,219,4331,333,041113,6089%
Nursing Assistants1,520,6141,655,662135,0489%
Security Guards1,185,1161,260,95375,8376%
Janitors and Cleaners2,632,8012,792,345159,5446%

 

Declining Low-Wage Occupations

Occupation2016 Jobs2021 JobsJobs Added
2016 – 2021
2016 – 2021
% Change
Door-to-Door Sales Workers, News and Street
Vendors
78,07864,271(13,807)(18%)
Sewing Machine Operators157,931135,575(22,356)(14%)
Floral Designers53,87648,391(5,485)(10%)
Cooks, Fast Food545,746530,839(14,907)(3%)
Tellers501,879490,202(11,677)(2%)

For more information on the companies, visit the CareerBuilder or Emsi Web site.