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Between 2010 and 2020, the job growth for registered nurses is expected to be strong.
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updated 2/13/2012 10:49:15 AM ET 2012-02-13T15:49:15

If you want to ride a crest of increasing employment over the next 10 years, get into health care, personal care, social assistance or construction. That’s the advice you can glean from a report issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics earlier this month.

The BLS reports that a projected 20.5 million new jobs will be added between 2010 and 2020, a growth in employment of 14.3 percent. The industries and occupations mentioned above will have the fastest growth of all. Manufacturing and the federal government will see the biggest losses.

Forbes.com slideshow: See which are the fastest and slowest growing jobs

The health care and social assistance sector is expected to add 5.6 million workers from 2010 to 2020. Professional and business services trails with an anticipated addition of 3.8 million workers. Construction should also see a significant gain (1.8 million) — but the rapid growth still won’t bring the industry back to pre-recessionary numbers.

As for specific occupations, registered nurses will see the biggest increase (711,900), closely followed by retail salespeople (706,800). Home health aides are expected to add 706,300 workers, while personal care aides will grow by 607,000. Rounding out the top five, office clerks will see 489,500 new workers by 2020 (from 2010).

Things aren’t so bright for farmers, postal service workers and sewing machine operators. Farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers are expected to experience a loss of 96,100 workers by 2020. Mail sorters, processors and machine operators will shrink by 68,900, and there will be 42,100 fewer sewing machine operators. The number of mail carriers is expected to decline by 38,100 by 2020.

Since the early 1970s, the BLS has prepared employment projections every other year. The BLS develops its projections in a series of six steps, each of which is based on separate procedures and models, and on related assumptions. These six steps examine the size and demographic composition of the labor force; aggregate economic growth; commodity final demand; input output; industry output and employment; and occupational employment and openings. According to the BLS, these components provide analysts the analytical framework needed to develop detailed employment projections.

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© 2012 Forbes.com

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