Planet Money
10:07 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Disco Dancer, Storm Chaser, And Other Reasons We Love This Jobs Book

In 1949, a team of government economists published a book to help World War II vets looking for work. It was called the Occupational Outlook Handbook. It was bound with black shoelaces, and it described 288 different jobs, including fur craftsman, typewriter serviceman and woodcarver.

Those jobs are gone now, but more have emerged to take their place. The latest edition of the Handbook includes 536 jobs, and there are a few reasons it's worth poking around in, even if you're not trying to figure out what to do with your life.

For one, you learn that there are some awesome sounding jobs in this world. For example:

• Pickle maker
• Chicken vaccinator
• Discotheque dancer
• Pecan gatherer
• Storm chaser

Also, the changes to the book over time are a good way to see the economy changing. (Creative destruction, and all that.)

The BLS updates the book every two years, adding more detailed entries for a select few jobs after gathering enough data on salary, employment numbers and locations. These are some of the ones that made this year's list and reflect job growth in healthcare, tech and financial regulation sectors.

• Orthotist/prosthetist
• Financial examiner
• Information security analyst

The BLS has just started research for its 2014 handbook, and they gave us a little sneak peek. The renewable energy industry is looking strong, so jobs like wind-turbine service technician and solar photovoltaic installer will make their next list.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.