Some Occupations that Have Grown Since 2007

Yes, despite the deep, deep troubles in the labor market, some occupations have grown since the recession started.

Surprisingly, farm, fishing and forestry occupations have seen 12.7% job growth since 2007, the most of any broad occupational category. These gains are probably being driven by the 30% increase in farm prices over the past four years, which has encouraged agricultural expansion.

Number two on the list is the category of computer and mathematical occupations, including programmers and computer software engineers. Basically, it pays to be riding the Internet/mobile boom.

Number three is healthcare practitioners and technical occupations, with a 7.7% gain. This is the highly educated part of the health care workforce, including doctors, registered nurses, medical technicians and the like. Note that healthcare support occupations–such as health aides and other less-educated workers—had a much smaller gain. Being educated is better.

Fourth is legal occupations. Now, I’m not sure of this one, because no one would say that the market for lawyers is stronger. However, many of these lawyers could be self-employed at relatively low incomes.

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About Michael Mandel 126 Articles

Michael Mandel was BusinessWeek's chief economist from 1989-2009, where he helped direct the magazine's coverage of the domestic and global economies.

Since joining BusinessWeek in 1989, he has received multiple awards for his work, including being honored as one of the 100 top U.S. business journalists of the 20th century for his coverage of the New Economy. In 2006 Mandel was named "Best Economic Journalist" by the World Leadership Forum.

Mandel is the author of several books, including Rational Exuberance, The Coming Internet Depression, and The High Risk Society.

Mandel holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.

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