2020 Job Market: What We Know So Far

By Kathy Morris
Nov. 21, 2019

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As we hit the final months of 2019, it is only natural to look ahead and wonder if 2020 will be a continuation of economic growth, if it will taper off, or even enter a sharp decline.

With these looming thoughts in mind, Zippia delved into the data to get a picture of what job hunters can expect in 2020. We analyzed four areas: forecasted unemployment, growing industries, industries declining, and GDP forecast.

Here is what we can expect from the economy in 2020.

2020 Unemployment

Unemployment is a key indicator of economic performance. Like a sneezy case of the flu, unemployment can easily spread with nasty results. When consumers no longer have income to buy products and services, consumer facing companies are forced to layoff employees.

2019 has a 3.68% unemployment rate, remarkably good. Will 2020 be able to sustain this figure?

The OECD forecasts unemployment rates will stay good- and, in fact, dip even further to 3.53%. OECD predictions are not usually spot on to the decimal. However, they do a good job at predicting general trend. This continued low unemployment is great news for job seekers who can expect to continue to benefit from a tight labor market.


Best Job Prospects

Of course, as all job hunters know, not all jobs are as easy to get employed in as others and not all jobs offer good future prospects. With this in mind, we looked to the BLS to highlight industries that are expected to see the greatest future growth. We list 25 quickest growing jobs below.

First let’s check out the top 5 jobs with the greatest projected growth:

  1. Solar photovoltaic installers
  2. Projected Increase 2018-2028: 63%
    Annual Wage 2018: $42,680

  3. Wind Turbine Service Technicians
  4. Projected Increase 2018-2028: 56%
    Annual Wage 2018: $42,680

  5. Home Health Aides
  6. Projected Increase 2018: 36%
    Annual Wage: $24,200

  7. Personal Care Aides
  8. Projected Increase 2018-2028: 36%
    Annual Wage 2018: $24,020

  9. Occupational Therapy Assistants
  10. Projected Increase 2018-2028: 33%
    Annual Wage 2018: $60,220

The top two jobs are both in the green industry, which is expected to see rapid growth. Another common trend on the list is healthcare- from Home Health Aides (36%) and Occupational Therapy Assistants (33%) in the top 5, to Physician’s Assistants (31%) and Nurse Practitioners (28%) in the full 25. Healthcare is in demand and that demand is expected to continue its upward trajectory.

We did not take into account annual wage when creating this list. However, as you can see below, a nice chunk of these positions bring home a great paycheck, in addition to job security.


Worst Job Prospects

While 2020 is coming in strong and some occupations are experiencing rapid growth, not all industries will share in the wealth. In fact, some occupations are really struggling and will continue to decline over the next 8 years. Similar to best job prospects, we used BLS data to identify jobs with decreasing numbers. Below we list 25 occupations with the greatest projected decline from 2018-2028.

First, let us look at the 5 occupations with the grimmest outlook:

  1. Word Processors And Typists
  2. Projected Decrease 2018-2028: -33%
    Annual Wage 2018: $39,750

  3. Postal Service
  4. Projected Decrease 2018-2028: -23%
    Annual Wage 2018: $58,770

  5. Switchboard Operators
  6. % Change 2018-2028: -23%
    Projected Decrease 2018: $29,420

  7. Data Entry Keyers
  8. Projected Decrease 2018-2028: -23%
    Annual Wage 2018: $32,170

  9. Legal Secretaries
  10. Projected Decrease 2018-2028: -20%
    Annual Wage 2018: $46,360

There you have: the five occupations expected to see the most significant decrease. The bulk of the list of declining jobs are professions at risk of automation. Some have already been severely impacted (typists, for example), while others are only beginning to see the impact.

While no one should panic (these are projected drops by 2028, not 2020 after all) these fields will face significant future challenges.


GDP Forecast

GDP growth rate measures how quickly the economy is growing. It does this by comparing one quarter of the gross domestic product to another.

It measures four critical areas:

  • Retail sales
  • Business Investment
  • Government spending
  • Trade

GDP forecast is a strong, big picture indicator of how different areas of the economy are performing. We looked to the Federal Reserve’s forecast to see the expected 2020 forecast:

2018 GDP: 3%
2019 GDP: 2.2%
2020 Forecast GDP: 2%

The Fed anticipates a .2 GDP slowdown from 2019. While 2020 will have a slight GDP decline, the economy will still be growing, albeit at a slower rate. The real concern would be a much sharper drop, or worse a negative GDP that would indicate a shrinking economy.

Summary Of The 2020 Job Market Forecast

Economic forecasts are not a crystal ball. However, using data from the Federal Reserve, BLS, and OECD provides great insight into what we can expect from the 2020 job market.

Unemployment will remain low and job seekers should expect to benefit from the tight job market. Workers in healthcare and the green industry are in a particular advantageous spot. While the GDP will be experiencing a slight slow down, the economy is still chugging along. Overall, 2020 will feel pretty similar to 2019, which isn’t so terrible.

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Kathy Morris

Kathy is the head of content at Zippia with a knack for engaging audiences. Prior to joining Zippia, Kathy worked at Gateway Blend growing audiences across diverse brands. She graduated from Troy University with a degree in Social Science Education.

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Topics: Study