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Economic Impact: Health care and construction jobs will be fastest growing in region

If you are looking for work during the next decade, consider health care and construction jobs.

Those two industries should see the fastest-growing employment in the Richmond area.

The health care and social assistance sector should grow an average 2.5 percent a year in the Richmond area during the next 10 years compared with an average 1.2 percent for all industries, according to analysis by Chmura Economics & Analytics.

That translates into a need for 24,480 more health care workers over the next 10 years.

In addition to that, 19,168 people will be needed in that sector to take the place of people who retire or leave the industry.

Skill sets that will be needed in the Richmond health care sector include:

• personal care aides (2,884 new positions expected with an additional 469 positions replaced);

• registered nurses (2,043 new positions expected with an additional 2,248 positions replaced);

• home health aides (1,843 new positions expected with an additional 786 positions replaced); and

• nursing assistants (1,173 new positions expected with an additional 1,140 positions replaced).

Employment at health care firms consistently outpaced the overall economy during the recession and since it ended.

In contrast to health care, employment in construction saw a larger percentage contraction during the recession than any other major sector.

Looking ahead, Chmura Economics & Analytics expects employment in that sector to grow at the second-fastest pace in the Richmond area as recovery in the construction industry builds momentum.

Employment at area construction firms is expected to grow an average 2.7 percent a year in the next decade, adding 20,568 jobs with an additional 7,632 positions for retirements or transfers to new positions.

The largest openings related to construction are expected to be:

• construction laborers (1,470 new positions expected with an additional 1,268 positions replaced);

• carpenters (927 new positions expected with an additional 560 positions replaced); and

• electricians (753 new positions expected with an additional 666 positions replaced).

Aside from growth in health care and construction-related occupations, bookkeepers, accountants, first-line supervisors, and sales representatives are expected to expand by the largest number of jobs in the metro area.

On the flip side, the largest number of area job losses are expected at the U.S. Post Office as it continues to grapple with the fast pace of communication over the Internet.

Job opportunities currently are better in the Richmond area compared with the state, which is still struggling with federal spending cuts.

Nonfarm employment rose 2.1 percent in July in the Richmond area from the same month a year ago, while it rose 0.6 percent in the state during the same time period. National employment grew 1.9 percent over the same period.

As we celebrate achievements of workers this Labor Day, we should also look at what jobs will be here in the future. Students, take note.

« PrevState-Level Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Now Available by Quarter

Next »Upcoming Events: October 7-9, 2014 VEDA Fall Conference: Governor's Conference on Economic Development