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10 surprises about tomorrow's job market

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Between 2008 and 2018, output of the nation's factories should jump nearly 23 percent to $4.9 trillion, a huge change given that manufacturing is the nation's largest industry by output, according to a study by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University.

Yet despite the surge on the nation's factory floors, manufacturing employment is expected to shrink from 13.6 million jobs in 2008 to 13 million by 2018, the center forecasts.

"Post-recession growth in that sector will result from greater productivity, not from expansion of the workforce," it says.

3. When in doubt, specialize.

The health-care industry is forecast to be a huge driver of employment this decade, because of an expected growth in demand from health reform and from an aging population. Whether you're looking for a job inside or outside the industry, the trick is to specialize.

By 2020, the economy is projected to need more than 30 percent more optometrists, veterinarians, and database administrators. It will need some 40 percent more marriage and family therapists, interpreters and translators, and meeting and event coordinators.

For something a little more offbeat, you can try nonfarm animal caretaker (up 27.8 percent); athlete, coach, or umpire (up 28.3 percent); or geographer (up 35.4 percent).

4. Green isn't always gold.

In 2008, in the run-up to the presidential election, a study released by the United States Conference of Mayors estimated the US had about 750,000 "green" jobs. Over the next 30 years, it forecast the green sector would account for as much as 10 percent of employment growth, adding 4.2 million jobs.

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