By now the projected demand for home health aides and personal care aides because of America’s aging (and growing) population is well known. But did you know market research analysts and marketing specialists – a high-skill occupation with median wages of $29.10 an hour – is just a notch below those two health care occupations in terms of projected job growth the next five years?
Similarly, most know about the job boom that has occurred, and is projected to continue, in Texas (especially those who have read Tyler Cowen’s Time cover story). But did you know employment in Raleigh, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City is expected to climb at similar rates to Austin, Houston, and San Antonio?
These are some of the noteworthy findings in a new report from EMSI that explores the job outlook by wage level and education from 2013 to 2017 for the U.S. and the nation’s largest 52 metropolitan areas.
Mid-Wage Jobs: Hollowing Out
One of the big takeaways of the report: 75% of the 165 occupations expected to lose jobs nationally are in the mid-wage category (median wages of $13.83 to $21.13 an hour, per the National Employment Law Project). In Milwaukee, for example, only 1.6% of new jobs from 2013 to 2017 are expected to fall in the mid-wage range. Chicago and Rochester are in similar positions.
Also of note: Only two of the 20 projected fastest-growing occupations that typically require a bachelor’s degree (see chart below) are mid-wage – mental health counselors (median wages of $19.26 an hour and expected growth of 12%) and athletic trainers ($20.39 and 11%).
At the same time, there are very strong mid-wage, mid-skill occupations in the education and training sweet spot of community and technical colleges, and there are states fostering these jobs the last few years, as we recently documented.
More relevant to the report, a select group of large metros are also fostering medium-wage jobs. Just over 10 metros with populations of a million or more – most notably Las Vegas, driven by hospitality and tourism — are projected to eclipse the national share of new mid-wage jobs through 2017 (22%). EMSI projections indicate 34% of new jobs in Las Vegas will be mid-wage, and Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Boston will also be among the leaders in this category.
These growing or rebounding mid-wage jobs can be found in manufacturing (via various production and skilled trades occupations), construction, health care, energy (primarily oil and gas), and transportation. On the other hand, technology is projected to continue to curtail job opportunities in office and administrative roles — secretaries, office managers and certain clerical positions. The culprit, as Ferguson pointed to, is technology. Meanwhile, offshoring and automation have also led to the hollowing out of mid-wage jobs in other sectors such as textiles, lower-skilled manufacturing, and the information sector.
High-Wage Jobs: Coming Back?
The rate of high-wage job creation is projected to increase the next five years. Further, jobs that pay median wages of $21.13 and above account for 40% of all new jobs through 2017, a good sign for the labor market considering 60% of new jobs from 2009 to 2012 (and 53% of new jobs from 2009 to 2013) were in low-wage occupations – that is, those with median wages of $13.83 an hour or less. However, we note in the report that “demand for high-wage labor typically corresponds with subsequent demand for low-wage labor in the service sector. The creation of good-paying jobs cannot exist without some multiplying effect in other occupations, including low-wage occupations.”
Which metros are expected to see the largest share of high-wage growth? Washington, D.C. tops the list, at 58%, while Seattle (54%), Boston (50%), and Baltimore (50%) are also projected to be strong high-wage metros. Each of these cities has seen explosive job growth in tech, higher education, and/or finance.
Metros in the Southwest and Southern California, meanwhile, are projected to have the lowest share of high-wage growth: Tucson (25%), Riverside-San Bernardino (26%), Las Vegas (26%), and Los Angeles (28%).
Low-Wage Jobs: A Natural Corollary to High-Wage Growth
The same metros that are projected to see the highest rates of high-wage job growth (Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Raleigh) are also expected to see significant low-wage growth. For these and other metros, low-wage growth is a natural corollary to high-wage growth; the more well-paying sectors that a region has, the more service-based, low-wage sectors will follow. But low-wage growth is a troubling signal for metros where bottom-tier jobs make up the preponderance of employment growth.
Metros with the largest share of low-wage growth are typically ones that have struggled most post- recession. This includes Milwaukee, the leader in this category, with 60.3% of projected new jobs in the low-wage category, as well as Riverside (58%), Los Angeles (57%) and Rochester (55%). On the flip side, metros with the smallest share of low-wage growth have done well in the recovery – Washington, D.C. (21%), Seattle (22%) and Boston (25%).
A Note (and Caveats) on EMSI’s Projections
EMSI projects employment data 10 years out by first creating short-, mid- and long-term trends for every industry and county based on historical data. These are extrapolated into the future and adjusted to prevent extreme projected growth or decline. Initial projections are then adjusted using national industry projections (from the Bureau of Labor Statistics), as well as state and sub-state regional projections provided by individual states for wage-and-salary workers.
It’s important to note that EMSI projections are basically past trends extrapolated into the future, which are also informed by official federal and state projections (which in turn are informed by both statistical models and expert opinion). EMSI projections are not “forecasts” or “predictions.” Also, because the BLS publishes employment projections biennially and states projections are on varying schedules, projections may not reflect trends seen in the most recent years of data.
Data shown in this post comes from Analyst, EMSI’s web-based labor market data and analysis tool. Contact Josh Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more. Follow Wright on Twitter (@ByJoshWright) and EMSI (@DesktopEcon).