U.S. Economic Outlook: Education, Health, Consulting

Posted on 1/2/2008 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

According to the latest statistics from U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, education and health are the two fastest-growing super-sectors of the American economy. The growth is fuelled by the ongoing shift to a service-oriented economy and an aging population. BLS economic and employment projections extend through 2016 and offer an opportunity to cross-reference and augment the cultural trends often discussed in stock-industry circles with business and economic information.

As service-sector jobs demand skilled, educated employees, public and private education industries are experiencing heightened demand at all levels, from elementary to post-graduate. In this evolving service economy, the declining manufacturing-oriented industries include gas stations, print shops, department stores, apparel manufacturers, telecom carriers and farmers. Image use is likely to follow a similar pattern, with demand for white-collar, professional imagery rising and industrial images becoming less popular.

Health-care industries, such as hospitals, physician practices and home care, are growing to keep up with the needs of aging baby boomers. The top occupation of today is registered nurse, and 15 of the 30 fastest-growing jobs are in the health-care field. Several medical-image collections launched in 2007 are likely to find a very receptive buyer market.

However, the fastest-growing American industry is consulting. Though smaller than the behemoth-sized health and education segments, the management, scientific and technical consulting industries are all booming. Today, companies like Accenture and Booz Allen Hamilton rival household cleaner brands in name recognition.

Despite American's seeming obsession with health, fast good remains is a top-growth industry sector. Though the trends of weight gain and rising body-fat percentages are not new, they are enduring.

In addition to economic projections, BLS highlights several notable demographic trends, such as declining numbers of younger people and increasing minorities.

Though the overall U.S. population is growing at a rate of 9%, this growth is largely among baby boomers. By 2016, the 55 and older age group will have grown by 30% to 9.5 million people. In contrast, younger age groups will have shrunk. For example, there will be 6% fewer 35 to 44-year-olds.

Minorities and immigrants continue to account for a larger share of the country. In addition to the often-publicized growth of Hispanic communities, Asian population segments are projected to grow much faster than other racial and ethnic groups. Consequently, demand for multicultural imagery should remain strong.

BLS releases business, economic and employment information on a monthly basis. It is publicly available on its Web site.

Copyright © 2008 Julia Dudnik Stern. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


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