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Wednesday November 22nd, 2017 5:10PM

Labor Department: Solar, wind jobs to boom over next decade

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump pledges to revive the nation's struggling coal mines, but new data from the federal agency that tracks employment growth suggests blue-collar job seekers would do better to look to clean energy.

According to projections released this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top-growing job classification over the next nine years will be solar photovoltaic installers. Those positions are expected to double, from 11,300 in 2016 to 23,200 by 2026. The median worker employed installing solar panels made $39,340 last year.

Wind turbine service technicians came in at No. 2. Those jobs were projected to grow by more than 96 percent, from 5,800 to 11,300. They were paid a median salary of $52,260 last year.

Though coal miners did not make the federal list of fastest-growing jobs, employment is expected to continue to boom in the oil and gas sector. Derrick operators, roustabouts and rotary drill operators were all listed among the top 30.

Jobs in health care are also expected to continue to grow at a good clip, with positions for homes health aides, personal care aides, physician assistants and nurse practitioners all projected to grow at least 30 percent.

Meanwhile, the job classifications expected to shrink the most were topped by locomotive firers, with just 300 of them left by 2026. Positions for respiratory therapy technicians, parking enforcement workers, typists and watch repairers were also expected to dwindle in the next decade.

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See the full analysis from the Bureau of Labor Statistics at https://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_table_102.htm

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Follow Associated Press environmental writer Michael Biesecker at http://twitter.com/mbieseck

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