Reuters

High-paid knowledge, professional, and creative class occupations will add roughly 7 million new jobs by 2020. Here's where you'll find them.

This week, I've been looking at the projected growth in jobs across American metros. My last post charted the projected growth in service jobs; I also looked at blue-collar gigs.

Today, I look at the projected growth in higher-paying, higher-skill jobs that make up the creative class. More than 43 million people are currently employed in creative class work, a third of the workforce, in fields like science, technology, and engineering; business, finance, and management; law; health care; education; and arts, culture, media, and entertainment. 

Though nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of college graduates go on to do this kind of work, four in 10 creative class workers do not hold college degrees, according to analysis by my colleagues at the  Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI). Simply holding a creative class job adds about the same amount to wages as having an additional one and a half years of higher education, according to research by economist Todd Gabe.

Overall, the U.S. is projected to add nearly 7 million new creative class jobs by 2020, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics projections.

But where will these jobs be? My colleague Charlotta Mellander of the Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) used the BLS projections to forecast creative class job growth across U.S. metros based on their current mix of jobs.

The map below by Zara Matheson of the MPI charts projected creative class job growth across U.S. metros.

The biggest gainers are, by definition, the biggest regions. Greater New York tops the list with a projected gain of 259,809 jobs, followed by Los Angeles (187,967), Chicago (182,210), Washington, D.C. (160,960), Houston (116,447), Atlanta (111,132), Boston (110,708), Dallas (101,614), and Philadelphia (95,128).

But job growth is a function of population size; so it’s little surprise that large metros dominate in terms of overall job creation. The next map plots the projected percentage change in creative class jobs for U.S. metros.

Smaller metros dominate this list. Rochester, Minnesota is the biggest projected creative class gainer, with a projected 19.6 percent increase in creative class jobs, followed by Ocala, Florida (19 percent), Punta Gorda, Florida (19 percent), Goldsboro, North Carolina (18.7 percent), Steubenville, Ohio (18.4 percent), Lima, Ohio (18.4 percent), Sioux Falls, South Dakota (18.3 percent), Dothan, Alabama (18.2 percent), and Huntington, West Virginia. (18.2 percent).

While none of America’s large metros (those with over one million people) make the top ten metros for creative class jobs growth, some are expected to see considerable gains. Of these, Tampa, Florida, leads the pack with a projected creative class growth of 17.2 percent. It is followed by Jacksonville, Florida (17.2 percent), Cleveland, Ohio (17.2 percent), Birmingham, Alabama (17.2 percent), St. Louis, Missouri (17.1 percent), and Fort Lauderdale, Florida (17.1 percent).

The growth in creative class jobs is a bright spot on the employment horizon. And the growth in these jobs in smaller metros like those above is especially good news. Creative class jobs pay well, in excess of $70,000 on average, because they leverage two kinds of skills -- analytical or cognitive skills and social intelligence skills.  

But blue-collar working class jobs and routine service jobs benefit as much or more from these skills. Increasing these two skill sets drives substantial wage increases for both these types of jobs and workers.

A comprehensive jobs strategy needs to essentially "creatify" all jobs. It must be based on the simple principle that each and every human being is creative and that we can best grow our economy by harnessing the full creativity of all our workers. 

Top image: Reuters/Erin Siegal

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