Why Dilbert is doomed
The most numerous and stable jobs of tomorrow will be those that cannot be offshored, because they must be performed on U.S. soil, and also cannot be automated, either because they require a high degree of creativity or because they rely on the human touch in face-to-face interactions. The latter are sometimes called “proximity services” and they include the fastest-growing occupations, healthcare and education.
Most job growth in the last decade has been concentrated in three sectors: healthcare, education and government, mostly state and local government. Since the recession began, healthcare has added 559,000 jobs. Even more remarkable, the average monthly gain of 22,000 jobs during 2009 has been only slightly lower than the average increase of 30,000 jobs a month in 2008.
Last July, in a study titled “Preparing the Workers of Today for the Jobs of Tomorrow,” the Council of Economic Advisers predicted that between 2008 and 2016 employment will decline in manufacturing, retail and wholesale, business and financial services and other sectors. Public-sector employment will remain steady, and there will be growth in transportation and utilities and construction. The greatest job growth, according to the White House, will be in the health and education sectors. Healthcare-related jobs make up seven out of the 20 fastest-growing occupations, and 14 out of the 20 fastest-growing jobs. The fastest-growing occupations are home health aides and registered nurses.
The aging of the boomers accounts for only 10 percent of the growth. The rest comes from increasing demand. That’s because productivity growth in agriculture, construction and manufacturing has greatly reduced the cost of food, shelter and appliances. In the U.S. and similar nations, the freed-up income tends to be used on quality-of-life goods, of which healthcare is the most important. So-called ambulatory healthcare services, defined as healthcare provision for people who do not need to be hospitalized, form the fastest-growing part of the healthcare field. This underlines the point: As other expenditures are reduced, Americans are spending more income on non-emergency healthcare, a superior good that makes it possible to enjoy the other goods of life all the more.