Growth Opportunities for the American Worker: Hottest Growth Industries by Decade 1890-2020
42 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2017
Date Written: January 28, 2013
Manufacturing. Energy. Agriculture. In 1900, these were the industries of a still-young nation establishing itself as an emerging world power. Today, a century of accumulated innovation is creating new pathways of industrial advancement that would have been impossible to imagine a century ago. These industries are re-emerging in new forms, leading a transformation of the American economy.
This report seeks insight into the next decade of America’s economic evolution by revisiting 10 prior decades of industrial change. Taken together, the data-derived vignettes in this report tell the story of a nation’s ascent—despite a Great Depression and two world wars—and o er glimpses of some of the thousands of innovations that, cumulatively, made such an ascent possible.
More than anything, the 20th century was about the rise and partial fall of production at scale. From the 1910s to the 1970s, one industry after another went from small and decentralized to large and concentrated. Craftsmanship yielded to machinery, and tinkering gave way to managerial e ciency. By the 1980s, however, investors began to lose interest in corporate conglomerates. America’s culture of entrepreneurship reasserted itself. A revolution in information and communications technologies swept through one industry after another. A surge in globalized exchange disrupted industrial practices of the middle of the century.
The recent recession has done little to alter the arc of history, and future pathways of progress appear to be following the same trajectory as the country’s previous industrial ascent. Today, the United States is 4 times more populous and more than 30 times more prosperous than it was a century ago, and patterns of industrial evolution point to a period of large-scale economic renewal.
Keywords: technology, innovation, economic history, economic growth, industry dynamics
JEL Classification: N12, O1, O14, O33, O51
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation