Which Industries Created Most Jobs in 2013?

by Phil Stott | January 14, 2014

While it may have disappointed on a monthly basis, data in the most recent BLS labor report indicates that private industry in the U.S. created some 1.7 million jobs in 2013. I looked at the data from a couple of different angles, to try to figure out where job seekers had the best chance of landing a freshly-created position in 2013 (hint: not the government--state and federal agencies cut around 390,000 positions over the same period). Part of my rationale: while past performance is no guarantee of future gains, I'm laboring under the assumption that industries that performed well in 2013 may well do so again this year—or at least the opening months of the year. Even if they don't, however, there's no harm in gaining a wider perspective on the employment picture.

Of course, there are a couple of different, and distinct, ways of looking at job growth data. Percentage growth can alert us to industries that are growing rapidly, and may yield some clues about hot fields and sectors. As you will see from the first table below, however, smaller sectors have an easier time registering a high rate of growth than industries that employ significantly more people. For that reason, I've also provided a list of the industries that hired the most people in terms of sheer volumes of positions created throughout the year. Between the two lists, you may be able to draw some conclusions about the state of the economy, and where your own skills and knowledge may be best suited. 

Without further ado, then, here are the 20 fastest-growing employee sectors in 2013.*

 

Rank Industry % Change Jobs Created, 2013
1     Amusements, gambling, and recreation 14.09% 183,000
2     Scenic and sightseeing transportation 12.72% 2,900
3     Arts, entertainment, and recreation 11.62% 212,100
4     Museums, historical sites, and similar institutions 7.38% 9,600
5     Residential specialty trade contractors 7.01% 103,200
6     Services to buildings and dwellings 6.68% 118,000
7     Building material and garden supply stores 6.60% 75,100
8     Temporary help services 6.24% 165,400
9     Outpatient care centers 6.05% 40,600
10    Employment services 5.88% 194,400
11    Oil and gas extraction 5.76% 11,000
12    Accommodation 5.17% 90,800
13    Home health care services 5.04% 62,700
14    Support activities for mining 5.01% 19,700
15    Performing arts and spectator sports 4.91% 19,500
16    Administrative and support services 4.86% 379,100
17    Motor vehicles and parts 4.72% 37,200
18    Rental and leasing services 4.66% 23,600
19    Heavy and civil engineering construction 4.47% 37,900
20    Residential building 4.47% 25,700

 

And here are the 20 industries that added the most employees in 2013.* 

 

Rank Industry % Change Jobs Created, 2013
1     Food services and drinking places 3.96% 396,400
2     Administrative and support services 4.86% 379,100
3     Arts, entertainment, and recreation 11.62% 212,100
4     Employment services 5.88% 194,400
5     Amusements, gambling, and recreation 14.09% 183,000
6     Health care 1.16% 168,600
7     Temporary help services 6.24% 165,400
8     Ambulatory health care services 2.44% 157,500
9     Professional and technical services 1.73% 138,900
10    Services to buildings and dwellings 6.68% 118,000
11    Local government, excluding education 1.69% 104,800
12    Residential specialty trade contractors 7.01% 103,200
13    Accommodation 5.17% 90,800
14    Building material and garden supply stores 6.60% 75,100
15    Motor vehicle and parts dealers 4.09% 71,000
16    Home health care services 5.04% 62,700
17    Social assistance 2.06% 56,000
18    Food and beverage stores 1.73% 50,300
19    Computer systems design and related services 2.93% 48,700
20    Management and technical consulting services 3.96% 45,900

 

As you can see, there are a few crossovers—sectors that are both growing at a rapid clip and creating a substantial number of jobs. These include lots of positions in the recreation and entertainment fields, suggesting that consumers are perhaps starting to relax their spending habits—potentially a good sign for the economy as a whole. Additionally, the number of positions related to residential contracting (roughly:  homebuilding) suggests an improvement in that market, which has been one of the worst affected since the onset of the recession.

Finally, as the Consulting Industry Editor here at Vault, I'm pleased to see the "management and technical consulting services" sector sneaking into the top 20 for most jobs added. This time last year, the consulting industry was being tipped for a strong year—which I covered here—and the growth in jobs in the sector is another sign that we could be looking at a good year ahead for the market at large; firms often hire consultants to plan new projects and initiatives that will require full-time staffing to execute.

 

Related: Which Industries Lost Most Jobs in 2013?

 

*A quick note on the data: the BLS nests its data, so that, for example, Accommodation is a sub-industry in the larger Accommodation and Food Services category, which itself is contained in the overall Leisure and Hospitality category. To get a better sense of market conditions, I chose to screen out the larger industry classifications and to focus on the "lowest" levels (Accommodation, rather than Leisure and Hospitality), except where doing so would have caused confusion or a discrepancy in the data. The full BLS data table can be found here.

Filed Under: Consulting | Job Search


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