Personal Care and Services

The personal care and services industry includes those jobs that pertain to household services. Workers that do domestic work, such as maids, babysitters, animal care and services, personal care aides, as well as those who provide home maintenance services, such as exterminators, window washers, and tree trimmers, are in the personal care and services profession.

Dating back to the Middle Ages, wealthy landowners and royalty had household staff that attended to their every need, from sewing their clothes and cleaning their homes to caring for and educating their children. Since the 1800s, domestic workers’ jobs include maids, butlers, housekeepers, grooms and stable boys, babysitters and nannies, and gardeners. Wealthy families may employ a full staff of domestic workers, with full-time salary with benefits as well as room and board for staff to live on site. Some domestic workers, such as babysitters and nannies, travel with families when they take vacations, providing child care services throughout the trip. And it isn’t just the wealthy who retain household services help. People of all income levels employ personal care workers to help with a single job or ongoing work; for instance, babysitters, dog walkers, tree trimmers, exterminators, window washers, and others, are hired when needed, and landscapers and gardeners may be contracted on a weekly or monthly basis.   

The Department of Labor reports that there were the following number of personal care and services professionals employed in the United States in May 2015: 174,060 nonfarm animal caretakers (includes pet-sitters who care for dogs, cats, and other animals); 926,250 maids and housekeepers; 40,160 tree trimmers and pruners; 2,146,880 janitors and cleaners (including window washers); 70,250 pest control workers; 573,440 childcare workers (including those who work in private households); 1,369,230 personal care aides.

According to the market research group IBISWorld, the Maids, Nannies and Gardeners industry is an $18 billion industry in the United States. From 2011 to January 2016, this industry experienced 2 percent annual growth, which is a decent growth rate considering the sluggish economy during the first half of this time frame. The recent recession had caused American households to scale back on employment of maids, nannies, and landscaping services. Industry revenue is expected to increase in the next few years, however, as the economy improves. IBISWorld also reports that nannies and babysitters bring in the largest revenue for the Maids, Nannies, and Gardeners industry, accounting for nearly 30 percent of total revenue.

The dog walking service industry brings in $901 million in revenue, according to IBISWorld. This industry has seen steady annual growth of 3.1 percent since 2011, despite the recession. Pets are considered important members of the family, and have become even more important in recent years, with "owners" now referred to as "pet parents." As people have more disposable income, they will spend more money on their pets to make sure they are well fed, exercised, healthy, and happy. Dog walkers are hired to walk dogs individually or in groups with other dogs while people are at work or away on a trip; the walk may be 30 minutes or less, and dogs are walked several times each day. Dog walkers may also add on other services, such as play time and faster runs and/or grooming.

Pest control contributes $14 billion in revenue in the United States. This is a fast-growing industry that experienced nearly 5 percent annual growth between 2011 and early 2016, with much of the growth due to the rise of bed bugs. More households are hiring pest control services to inspect homes for pests such as bed bugs. The stinkbug is also on the rise in certain areas of the United States, and this is increasing the demand for pest control services. As the economy continues to improve and the household market has rebounded, demand for termite extermination services has also been growing and is expected to continue growing in the next few years.

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