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Montana Labor Market Blog

Research & Analysis Bureau - Montana Department of Labor & Industry

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What Jobs will be in Demand in the next Decade?

Photo of a nurse taking a blood pressure reading.

One of the goals of the Montana Department of Labor & Industry is to help develop and maintain a highly skilled workforce. The creation of employment and labor force projections helps achieve this goal by providing insight into Montana’s changing workforce and the future demand for workers.

Through 2018, Montana is expected to add 6,010 jobs annually, then slow to 5,380 through 2026 as the labor market tightens. Slower long-term growth is expected due to anticipated worker shortages from the retirement of Montana’s baby boomer population without enough young people to replace them.

Montana’s labor force is expected to grow by 4,500 workers per year through 2026. This growth is 1,000 jobs less than average employment growth, leading to unemployment rates as low as 2% by 2026.

Although Montana is expected to add 5,500 new jobs per year through 2026, the number of expected job openings is higher. Job openings are created both when a new job is added and when a worker leaves their job and needs to be replaced. Including both new jobs and replacements, Montana is expected to have 17,500 job openings per year through 2026.

Table 1 shows the top ten occupations with the most job openings over the next ten years. Most of these jobs fall into the two largest categories, food preparation and serving-related occupations, and sales and related occupations. The large number of expected openings in these fields is partially because of Montana’s high employment level for this occupation, and partially due to high turnover. Because jobs in these large occupational groups are typically entry-level and require only on-the-job training (no long-term educational training), there is little planning needed by a worker to get into one of these occupations. However, registered nurses, the job with the fifth amount of expected job openings, generally requires a bachelor’s degree to enter the occupation. This is the only occupation in the top ten that pays higher wages than the statewide average wage of $40,750.

Table 1: Top Ten Detailed Occupations with Most Job Openings, 2016-2026

Rank

Occupation

New Jobs

Openings Due to Turnover

Total Annual Openings

2016 MT Avg. Annual Wage

1

Cashiers

86

666

751

$22,070

2

Retail Salespersons

174

556

730

$27,810

3

Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food

151

356

507

$20,440

4

Waiters and Waitresses

56

441

497

$21,590

5

Registered Nurses

212

244

456

$64,300

6

Office Clerks, General

98

238

336

$30,630

7

Bartenders

87

214

301

$20,600

8

Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners

101

179

280

$23,730

9

Nursing Assistants

120

149

268

$25,950

10

Janitors and Cleaners, Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners

91

165

256

$27,420

Source: The Montana Department of Labor & Industry 2016 to 2026 Occupational Employment Forecasts

Table 1 provides an important summary of occupational growth, but there are many other ways to look at occupational data. For individuals making career decisions, a list of specific types of occupations such as those that pay higher than average or jobs that are in a STEM field may be useful tools. Tables 2 and 3 display the top ten occupations with the most openings for specific wage levels.

Table 2: Jobs Earning Over $45,000 With The Most Openings, 2016-2026

Rank

Occupation

New Jobs

Openings Due to Turnover

Total Annual Openings

2016 MT Avg. Annual Wage

1

Registered Nurses

212

244

456

$64,300

2

General and Operations Managers

57

116

173

$97,120

3

Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Except Technical and Scientific Products

47

106

153

$57,220

4

Accountants and Auditors

63

90

153

$64,900

5

Electricians

78

37

115

$61,580

6

First-Line Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers

83

28

111

$62,790

7

First-Line Supervisors of Office and Administrative Support Workers

45

58

103

$51,450

8

Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education

10

88

98

$49,010

9

Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators

34

53

87

$48,810

10

Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education

8

75

84

$49,760

Source: The Montana Department of Labor & Industry 2016 to 2026 Occupational Employment Forecasts

Table 3: Jobs Earning Over $65,000 With the Most Openings, 2016-2026

Rank

Occupation

New Jobs

Openings Due to Turnover

Total Annual Openings

2016 MT Avg. Annual Wage

1

General and Operations Managers

57

116

173

$97,120

2

Civil Engineers

22

44

66

$71,960

3

Lawyers

27

37

64

$83,330

4

Physical Therapists

31

31

62

$77,110

5

Managers, All Other

8

49

57

$70,860

6

Medical and Health Services Managers

22

33

55

$87,490

7

Physicians and Surgeons, All Other

17

38

54

$242,010

8

Loan Officers

18

22

39

$65,600

9

Personal Financial Advisors

24

14

38

$113,450

10

Pharmacists

10

26

36

$111,660

Source: The Montana Department of Labor & Industry 2016 to 2026 Occupational Employment Forecasts

New Projections Tool!

If you want to learn more about Montana's employment projections, you're in luck! We have created a new tool on our website to help you quickly find job projections for the state and its five regions. You can access this tool at http://lmi.mt.gov/Projections.

The projections tool will allow you to search for projection info using the following filter categories:

  • Region
  • Minimum Education
  • Minimum Training
  • Average Wage
  • Apprenticeable in the US
  • Apprenticeable in MT
  • STEM
  • Annual growth rate

We also provide an annual projections publication that provides analysis of our employment projections, identifying trends and contextualizing the data. This publication will be updated in the next few weeks. To view last year's publication, please visit http://lmi.mt.gov/Portals/135/Publications/LMI-Pubs/Labor%20Market%20Publications/Projections2015-25.pdf.

Categories: Montana Labor Market Blog, Ask an Economist

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