AnnaMarie Houlis
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Journalist & travel blogger

It's safe to say that 2020 was a rough year for most of us. Millions of Americans have filed for unemployment and businesses are still tossing in the towel and filing for bankruptcy.  We're all hopeful that 2021 will promise more opportunities and security, even if it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel right now.

The good news is that, while many industries are plummeting — like hospitality and event coordination — there are some sectors that are expected to grow. And those are the areas where you want to be job hunting in the new year. 

These are some of the sectors with positive outlooks for 2021.

1. Online Retailers and Services

Online retailers and services like pet food and supply stores and grocery shopping platforms are going to be hugely necessarily going into the new year, as we all continue to navigate our new normal. Even if the pandemic eases up, who wants to go grocery shopping anymore after discovering the ease of ordering them for delivery? According to IBIS, this is an industry to watch in 2021.

2. Medicine Manufacturing

People are not only paying more and more attention to their health these days, but they're also wary of weak immune systems during an outbreak of a virus that adversely affects the immunocompromised community. Plus, with many doctor's offices closed, an increasing number of people are purchasing over-the-counter medications to treat themselves at home, according to IBIS. Therefore, cold and flu medicine manufacturing will be an in-demand sector.

3. Healthcare

We can thank our frontline healthcare staff for helping us survive the year 2020. So, it's no surprise that, going into the new year, we'll be needing a lot more of them. There's been a nine percent increase in nursing jobs, a nine percent increase in nursing assistants, an 11 percent increase in medical assistant jobs and a 19 percent increase in home health aids from 2016 to 2021, according to CareerBuilder and Emsi research. Never mind that healthcare is a recession-proof industry — nurses, medical assistants and aids will always be necessary.

4. 3D Printing & Prototyping

The year 2020 has been a tough time for many people, but it's also been an innovative time for many others who've forged their own paths. People are coming up with million-dollar ideas while in quarantine — some are even being forced to come up with their own income-generators after losing their jobs. Whatever entices their entrepreneurial sides, they need printing and prototyping services to help them bring those ideas to fruition. Never mind that newer printing products are becoming available to everyday consumers, as well as the medical and manufacturing markets, according to IBIS. This is opening the industry up to untapped potential.

5. Cleaning

Again, we can largely thank our janitors and cleaners for always showing up for us in 2020 — keeping schools, offices, retail buildings, hotels and virtually everywhere else as germ-free as possible. There's been a six percent increase in janitor and cleaner jobs from 2016 to 2021,  according to CareerBuilder and Emsi research.

6. Investing

Investing is going to be a booming industry in 2021 in two ways: high-frequency trading and stock and commodity exchanges, IBIS reported. High-frequency trading firms trade countless financial securities quickly, with quantitative trading algorithms. To be successful, the industry relies on market volatility to generate price swings. Meanwhile, the stock and commodity exchanges sector is expected to grow over the next five years as economic uncertainty due to COVID-19 starts to dwindle.

7. Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana is gaining legality across the country, and Americans are voting to legalize marijuana entirely. The combination of consumer demand and increasing disposable incomes puts this industry on the right path to success, IBIS reported.

8. Video-Streaming

In an age of social isolation, video-streaming is one of the most popular ways that we can entertain ourselves. The video-streaming services industry is coming out with new and exciting ways to bring video content to consumers and, with increased demand, comes more subscriptions and advertising dollars. According to IBIS, this is an industry to have on your radar. More and more households are getting internet, and the rollout of better phones and televisions from which to stream video content will also play a role in the industry's success.

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AnnaMarie Houlis is a multimedia journalist and an adventure aficionado with a keen cultural curiosity and an affinity for solo travel. She's an editor by day and a travel blogger at HerReport.org by night.