The state Employment Development Department (EDD) periodically issues 10-year projections of fastest growing occupations in California and occupations with highest number of job openings. The most recent projections show some of the “knowledge” jobs among the fastest growing jobs in California. But the jobs with the greatest job openings remain the low tech, largely unglamorous jobs as personal and home aides, customer service representatives, waiters and waitresses, and retail salespersons.

Below is the chart of the 10 fastest growing occupations in California. Though issued in 2010, the projections cover the period 2008-2018.

More important in many ways than the fastest growing occupations, are those that will have the most job openings in the future. Below is the chart of the 10 jobs with the highest projected job openings.

We in the workforce community often hear about training for knowledge jobs in the global economy. Yet, as these projections suggest, there will be a limited number of these knowledge jobs. Most of the jobs will not be in financial or policy consulting firms, or internet firms or other forms of information technology . They will be home care aides, salespersons, nurses, administration, customer services representatives.

Workforce training in California has given some attention to these jobs. Over the past two decades, there have been a series of skills upgrading efforts targeted at California’s working poor, to improve skills and wages. A few, such as the long term care sector’s skills upgrading of certified nurse assistants have yielded skill and income gains. Others, in skills upgrading for low wage hotel workers, or farm workers, have yielded modest results.

For the most part, though, these jobs–in contrast to jobs in alternative energy, health care and information technology– have not been on the agenda of California local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs). It’s not clear how much the WIBs can influence the skill levels, wage levels, or career prospects of these jobs. However, based on the EDD job projections and other indicators, the “Occupations with Most Job Openings” should call forth some reconsideration by WIBs, and all of us.


Just as I thought. Turns out I’m only one of many in California’s workforce community who are fans of “Midnight Train to Georgia”. I received a good number of favorable reviews in response to the 1973 performance by Gladys and the Pips, which I posted a few weeks back. Here’s a link forwarded to me of a more recent performance by Gladys and the Pips at Chicago’s Regal Theatre. Look at the Pips’ moves, after nearly 40 years. Our California economy should only be operating as smoothly.