With Americans looking for help with everything from polishing their nails to caring for their elderly parents at home, the personal services industry is a force to be reckoned with. Due to the nature of the offerings, personal services are typically provided by very small shops. But more and more jobs in personal services are now at chains such as Supercuts, with more than 2,000 salons, or Petco, with many of its 1,000-plus stores offering animal-grooming services.
Personal Services Job Market
In the personal-care sector, childcare workers held nearly 1.3 million jobs in 2010, and their number is projected to increase by 262,000 by 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). There were nearly 1.9 million personal-care and home-health aides, and their ranks are expected to balloon by 70 percent -- more than 1.3 million -- over the forecast decade, making this one of the fastest-growing occupations. More than 712,000 people worked as hairdressers or barbers and nearly 82,000 others held jobs as manicurists and pedicurists.
Personal services jobs have a complex relationship with trends in the macroeconomy. Few Americans consider a haircut to be discretionary spending, but they will visit a less-expensive salon or go a little longer between appointments if their financial circumstances deteriorate. Work opportunities in personal services that are marketed as a luxury will suffer more in a recession and reach new heights in a boom. The most skilled providers of personal services are the most likely to keep working through thick and thin, if their employers price to the market.
Common personal services job opportunities include babysitter, personal-care aide, manicurist, hairstylist and pet groomer.
Personal Services Salaries
Childcare workers earned median wages of $19,340 in May 2011, according to the BLS. The median salary of personal-care aides was similar, at $19,730. The median manicurist and pedicurist salary was $19,440. The median hairstylist salary was $22,570, with the top 10 percent earning $41,490.