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U.S. Workers Are At Your Service

May 22, 2014

Barb Rawdon is the Director of the International Trade Administration’s Professional Services & Education Team. Natalie Soroka is an economist in the Office of Trade and Economic Analysis. 

A dentist performs work on a patient with the help of a dental assistant

Many service industry professionals work in high-skilled fields like health care, science, and law. (Photo courtesy U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet)

Fact: U.S. service industries support four out of five jobs in the country.

I can’t think of a better statistic to show how important the non-manufacturing sector is to the U.S. economy.

As crucial as service industries are, they’re also often misunderstood. It’s common for observers to limit perception of service industries to food preparation and service workers, but the industry also includes scientists, healthcare providers, financial analysts, architects and engineers, lawyers, accountants, and many other professions.

According to the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) service-sector index, April was the 51st consecutive month of growth for economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector, with the most job growth happening in the higher-skilled, higher-paying professions.

These professional services are also key to U.S. participation in the global economy. U.S. service exports totaled a record $682 billion in 2013 with a trade surplus of $229 billion. Workers in export-intensive services industries earn 15 to 20 percent more than comparable workers in other services industries.

Services trade connects our world through integrated supply chains, telecommunications, financial services, computer services, energy services, environmental services, audiovisual services, a broad range of business and professional services. Modern services enhance innovation and cut production costs for manufactured goods while increasing quality and variety, benefitting consumers.

Our team is proud to work with businesses in the service industries, professional associations, and organizations in both the public and private sector.

For more information on trends in services trade, see “Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade, 2013 Annual Report.”

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