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More than half of the new jobs in the years ahead will be in professional and service occupations, the Labor Department said.

Looking for a new profession? You might want to consider becoming a computer systems designer or home health care aide.

Even with unemployment at 10%, some industries like professional service and health care will grow in the years ahead, according to a report released Thursday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Professional and business services and health care and social assistance are expected to have the largest employment growth from 2008 to 2018, the Labor Department said.

Professional and business services will add 4.2 million jobs over that 10-year period while health care will increase its employment by 4 million.

Within professional and business services, consulting, computer systems design and employment services will have the most growth.

In the health care and social assistance industry, the top gainers are home health care, services for the elderly and those with disabilities, nursing care facilities and employment in offices of physicians.

Meanwhile, the long-term shift of employment from the goods-producing to the service-producing sector is expected to continue. Declines in manufacturing and mining will offset very modest growth in the construction industry, which is projected to increase by only 1.3 million jobs.

Within the goods-producing sector, the largest declines will be among manufacturers of semiconductors, with a loss of 146,000 jobs, and motor vehicle parts, which is expected to lose 101,000 jobs.

By 2018, the goods-producing sector is expected to account for only 12.9% of total jobs, down from 14.2% in 2008. Alternatively, the service-producing sector will account for 78.8% of total jobs, up from 77.2% in 2008.

The Labor Department’s projections also show an aging and more racially and ethnically diverse labor force in the years ahead.

As baby boomers grow older and work longer, the number of people age 55 years and older in the labor force is expected to increase by 43% during the 2008-18 period, making up nearly a quarter of the labor force by 2018.

Young people, age 16-24, are expected to account for 12.7% of the labor force in 2018, and those in between the ages of 25 to 54 will account for 63.5% of the 2018 labor force.

As a result of population growth among minorities, the share of the labor force held by minorities is also projected to increase significantly.

Altogether, total employment is projected to increase by 15.3 million, or 10.1%, during the 2008-18 period, the Labor Department said. Projections are updated every two years. To top of page

First Published: December 10, 2009: 11:49 AM ET
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