New marijuana industry jobs to eclipse new manufacturing jobs by 2020

The job landscape is always changing. Over time, some jobs dwindle away and new ones emerge. These shifts are often prompted by advancements in technology. It's important to stay informed about projections for the future so that we can make good career choices. Now, a new report from New Frontier Data, which was covered by Forbes, suggests some big changes are in store when it comes to job growth in the legal marijuana industry. New jobs in that field might eclipse new manufacturing opportunities by 2020.

Automation Impacts Manufacturing Jobs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, manufacturing jobs are expected to decline by 814,000 by 2024. When their data is broken down by industry, manufacturing comes in dead last – fewer new jobs are expected to be created in this industry than anywhere else.

This isn't news. Since 2000, the U.S. has lost more than 5 million manufacturing jobs. In 1960, around one in four Americans worked in manufacturing – today it's fewer than one in 10. Although more than 12.3 million Americans are still employed by the industry, it's clear that the tide is turning.

The Surge of Jobs in the Legal Marijuana Industry

The projections from the report by New Frontier Data paint a pretty rosy picture for folks interested in entering into the legal cannabis industry. They say that, by 2020, the legal marijuana market will create more than 250,000 jobs. Researchers didn't assume any changes to marijuana laws when calculating these projections — or changes to enforcement of existing federal law. They're based on estimates for growth in states that have already passed some form of legalized marijuana.

RELATED: See pot laws by state

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Marijuana legalization laws by state
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Marijuana legalization laws by state

Alabama: Medical use only, otherwise possession is a felony

(Photo: Dennis Macdonald via Getty Images)

Alaska: Marijuana legalized for medical and recreational use 

(Photo: Zoonar/N.Okhitin via Getty Images)

Arizona: Marijuana legalized for medical use

(Photo: Mikel Ortega via Getty Images)

Arkansas: Medical use only

(Photo: Getty Images)

California: Legal for medical and recreational use

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Colorado: Legal for medical and recreational use  

(REUTERS/Rick Wilking)

Connecticut: Decriminalized and legalized for medical use 

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Delaware: Decriminalized

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Florida: Medical use only

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Georgia: Medical use only

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Hawaii: Medical use only

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Idaho: Not legal

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Illinois: Decriminalized

(Photo: VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm)

Indiana: Not legal

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Iowa: Medical use only

(Photo: Getty Images)

Kansas: Not legal

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Kentucky: Not legal

(Photo: Dorling Kindersley via Getty Images)

Louisiana: Medical use only

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Maine: Legal for medical and recreational use

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Maryland: Decriminalized

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Massachusetts: Legal

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Michigan: Medical use only

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Minnesota: Decriminalized

(Photo: Getty Images)

Mississippi: Decriminalized on first offense

(Photo: Getty Images)

Missouri: Not legal

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Montana: Medical use only

(Photo: Dennis Macdonald via Getty Images)

Nebraska: Decriminalized on first offense only

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Nevada: Legal

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New Hampshire: Medical use only

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New Jersey: Medical use only

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New Mexico: Medical use only

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New York: Decriminalized unless in public view

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

North Carolina: Decriminalized

(Photo: Getty Images)

North Dakota: Medical use only

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Ohio: Decriminalized

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Oklahoma: Medical use only

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Oregon: Legal for medical and recreational use

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Pennsylvania: Medical use only

(Photo: Henryk Sadura via Getty Images)

Rhode Island: Decriminalized

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South Carolina: Not legal

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South Dakota: Not legal

(Photo: Dave and Les Jacobs via Getty Images)

Tennessee: Medical use only

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Texas: Medical use only, decriminalized in Houston and Dallas

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Utah: Not legal 

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Vermont: Decriminalized

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Virginia: Not legal

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Washington: Legal for medical and recreational use

(Photo: Shutterstock)

West Virginia: Medical use only

(Photo: Getty Images)

Wisconsin: Medical use only

(Photo: Getty Images)

Wyoming: Not legal 

(Photo: Space Images via Getty Images)

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This market was worth about $7.2 billion in 2016, according to the report, and is projected to grow at a rate of 17 percent annually. Medical marijuana sales are projected to surge from $4.7 billion in 2016 to $13.3 billion, by 2020. Recreational sales are expected to grow from $2.6 billion in 2016 to $11.2 billion by 2020.

Folks should consider projections like these when they're making decisions that impact their future. It might be wise to keep an eye on the legal cannabis industry and the possibilities that could blossom there in the years ahead.

"These numbers confirm that cannabis is a major economic driver and job-creation engine for the U.S. economy," Giadha Aguirre De Carcer, Founder and CEO of New Frontier Data, told Forbes. "While we see a potential drop in total number of U.S. jobs created in 2017, as reported by Kiplinger, as well as an overall expected drop in GDP growth, the cannabis industry continues to be a positive contributing factor to growth at a time of potential decline. We expect the cannabis industry's growth to be slowed down to some degree in the next three to five years, however with projected total market sales to exceed $24 billion by 2025, and the possibility of almost 300,000 jobs by 2020, it remains a positive economic force in the U.S."

Tell Us What You Think

How do you expect these industries will shift in the years ahead? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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