Public health is booming, hospitality is sagging: What the job landscape is going to look like on the other side of the pandemic

Waiter restaurant new york
In a ‘strong impact’ scenario, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment to drop by 12.9% between 2019 and 2029 for waiters and waitresses. John Lamparski/Getty Images
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics released employment projections that take into account the pandemic’s effects.
  • Increase in telework and changes in spending may affect long-term employment in some jobs.
  • Hosts, bartenders, and cashiers are among the jobs where employment is predicted to decline in these alternate scenarios.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Based on two new alternate scenarios of job projections, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts more employment in computer-related and medical research jobs over the next decade and less in retail trade and restaurant or eating places.

BLS regularly publishes employment projections for the next 10 years. However, last September’s release of projections from 2019-2029 used data from before the pandemic, meaning the major job losses and Americans’ changes in spending habits during and after lockdowns were not reflected in these projections.

BLS recently published a new report looking at how employment could change as a result of the pandemic.

The Bureau considered two scenarios modeling a “moderate” and “strong” long-term impact from the crisis, based on assessments of how much the pandemic could cause long-term changes in consumer and business behavior.

This includes an expectation of increased telework, reduction in restaurant spending, and less participation at places involving close contact like concerts.

“Occupations and industries whose alternate projections deviate the most from their baseline projections are those which are subject to the greatest pandemic-induced uncertainty over the next 10 years,” the authors wrote in the report.

Jed Kolko, chief economist at Indeed, wrote in The New York Times that these estimates show the long-term effects will likely mean less jobs in those with the lowest-wages and jobs that require no more than a high school diploma. Kolko notes that this is different from the pre-pandemic estimates, where low-wage jobs were expected to see job gains over the next decade.

“These new projections suggest that the unequal effect on jobs could long outlast the pandemic,” Kolko wrote in The New York Times.

Occupations with more jobs expected in 2029 in the alternate scenarios

Some occupations, especially in medical science and computer tech, are projected to see more jobs growth than expected before the pandemic.

The following table highlights the projected percent changes in employment between 2019 and 2029 for the 10 detailed occupations that are expected to see the biggest percent increase over the pre-pandemic baseline in the strong impact scenario:

Because of the increase in telework, the authors predict higher demand for IT and computer-related jobs. Information security analysts were already expected to grow by 31.2% in the baseline scenario, the 10th fastest-growing occupation. This job is expected to grow even more in the alternate scenarios.

More remote work could also mean more computer-related manufacturing jobs, per the report. The pandemic has seen an increase in people working from home, and some companies have introduced remote work policies like Spotify and Salesforce. And according to a PwC survey, 55% of 1,200 employees surveyed want to work from home at least three times a week.

In addition, six of the 10 fastest-growing jobs in the original projection release were in healthcare. These jobs are expected to see similar employment growth between 2019 and 2029 in these alternate scenarios. But some other healthcare-related jobs, like medical scientists, are expected to see much more growth in the alternate scenarios.

Occupations with fewer jobs expected in 2029 in the alternate scenarios

Not all jobs are expected to see positive changes. The following table highlights the projected percent changes in employment between 2019 and 2029 for the 10 detailed occupations that are expected to see the biggest percent decrease over the baseline in the strong impact scenario:

Based on the data, hosts and hostesses have the biggest decrease in projected employment in 2029. BLS projects this occupation to have 352,300 jobs in 2029 in the strong impact scenario compared to 464,900 in the baseline scenario, or 24.2% fewer jobs than previously predicted.

Reduction in dining out, increased takeout, and other contactless spending may also mean less employment than previously expected for restaurant workers like waiters and waitresses. In the strong impact scenario, employment for this job is expected to decrease by 12.9% and see 16.0% fewer jobs in 2029 compared to the baseline scenario.

Accelerated automation is also expected to affect employment in some occupations. The authors of the alternate projections write an increase in telehealth will mean lower employment for receptionists in healthcare. Dr. David Houghton, the system chair of telemedicine and digital health for Ochsner Health, told Insider’s Lydia Ramsey that he thinks the increased popularity of telemedicine will continue even after the pandemic.

Cashiers and hotel clerks were already estimated to see a decline in employment from 2019 to 2029, but the alternate scenarios show larger percent declines over the next decade.

It is important to note that these are just projections and could differ from what actually happens, as seen in previous releases. The US is still slowly recovering from losses last year and could be a while until a full recovery is seen. For instance, Mark Zandi, Moody’s Analytics’ chief economist, predicts that jobs lost since last year won’t be recovered until 2024. New decade projections are scheduled to be released in September.