Shift from Goods to Services

Services industries will continue to benefit from the ongoing shift away from goods-producing industries. Approximately 18.7 million of the 18.9 million projected new wage and salary jobs from 2004 to 2014 will be service-providing positions. Since the 1980s the production of goods in the United States has steadily declined, and with this decline jobs in these industries have been lost. Construction is the only goods-producing industry expected to experience growth.

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In order to offset rising materials and labor costs, manufacturing and technology companies in the United States have moved much of their operations to foreign countries. This practice is called outsourcing. Today when you need assistance with your computer or cell phone, the technician on the other end of the phone is most likely in another country, such as India.

Over the next decade the service-providing fields that are expected to experience the greatest growth include health care, social assistance, and educational services. The U.S Department of Labor estimates that three out of every ten jobs created in the coming decade will be in this sector. An aging population and longer life expectancies drive this demand. As a result, approximately 4.3 million new jobs are expected to be created in health care and social assistance areas such as hospitals, nursing and residential care facilities, and family and individual services. Other areas such as sales, financial planning, defense, and security jobs are expected to grow as well; however, the long-range job security projections are not as strong for these industries as they are for health care and education.

Unlike other industries, health care cannot be outsourced to another part of the world. Hands-on care must be provided in person. Some technological developments have already begun, and will likely continue, to provide long-distance diagnostics, such as the periodic checkups for pacemakers and implanted defibrillators, but for the most part health care will continue to require the personal touch.

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