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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
7:55 AM Sat, Nov. 17th

Column: The New Yavapai Economy: Trending occupations

The 10-year employment projections released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics not only identifies the top growing industry sectors for occupations that we looked at last week, but also the specific occupation titles and wage growth. Nationally, the fastest growing occupation titles in the next ten years will be wind turbine service technicians, with a growth of 108%, occupational therapy assistants, growing by 42.7%, physical therapy assistants, at 40.6% growth, home health aides, growing by 38.1%, commercial drivers, with 36.9% growth, nurse practitioners and physical therapists, at 35.2% and 34% respectively, and statisticians showing a 33.8% predicted growth rate. Ambulance drivers, occupational therapy aides, and physician assistants are also included in the top 15 occupations for growth. Operations research analysts, personal financial advisors, and cartographers round out the list with 30.2%, 29.6%, and 29.3% expected growth.

Eleven out of the top fifteen jobs predicted for fastest growth in the nation will require some form of post-secondary education, emphasizing the need for continued investment in educational resources for community colleges and the university system.

Top wage growth is expected in construction, home healthcare services, nursing and residential care facilities, food service, employment services, computer systems design, and management, scientific, and technical consulting. Largest declines in salaries are expected in non-defense government jobs including the postal service, newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers, wired telecommunication carries, federal defense government compensation, printing services, apparel manufacturing, and crop production. Rounding out the list of declining wages are mostly production oriented occupations in textiles, electronics, semiconductor, communications, and aerospace. The next ten years will take this country in a direction never before seen, with less and less export oriented production jobs and a transition to service sector positions, particularly in the healthcare sector. These trends are reflective of the aging population, automation, and globalization that directly impacts the demand for jobs in goods and services.

Yavapai County follows in line with these trends towards service and healthcare industry occupations, however, this county remains unique its position as the home of multiple production oriented small businesses that fabricate specialty products and employ 5 to 35 people. The county's ability to accommodate the needs of these businesses, including a trained workforce, utility infrastructure, and square footage is key to building a resilient economy that bucks the trends away from high-wage, high-quality employment in manufacturing.

Alexandria M. Wright is the director of the Yavapai College Regional Economic Development Center. The center provides analysis and services that facilitate economic development throughout Yavapai County and build wealth in our local communities.