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Professional Services: A snapshot of a major sector in Utah’s economy

The U.S. Census Bureau divides establishments into several sectors, like healthcare, education or construction. Those are pretty self-explanatory—but what companies fall into the “professional and business services” sector, which accounts for 16 percent of the state’s private-sector workforce?

This sector encompasses three main subcategories: professional, scientific and technical services; the management of companies and enterprises; and administrative and support and waste management and remediation services.

That doesn’t clear things up all that much. So here’s what each of those subsectors entail:

Professional, scientific and technical services
According to the Utah Department of Workforce Services, many of the industries grouped in this category “have production processes that are almost wholly dependent on worker skills.” Equipment, machinery and materials are of much lesser importance. “Thus, the establishments classified in this subsector sell expertise.”

Companies in this category include architecture and engineering firms, computer systems and design, photography companies, landscape and interior design, and others.

Roughly 1,400 Utah establishments fall within the professional, scientific and technical services sub-sector, employing 88,000 workers with a payroll of $5.5 billion.

Management of Companies and Enterprises
Organizations in this category “perform essential activities that are often undertaken, in-house, by establishments in many sectors of the economy,” according to DWS. Firms in this subsector may or may not hold the securities or other equity interests in the company they are serving. “By consolidating the performance of these activities of the enterprise at one establishment, economies of scale are achieved,” according to the Department of Workforce Services. These companies don’t offer routine administrative support; rather, they are involved in strategic and organizational planning, as well as high-level decision making.

Companies in this subcategory employ 20,000 workers with an annual payroll totaling $1.5 billion.

Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services
These companies perform routine support functions for other organizations—for example, hiring personnel, clerical services, collections, security, office cleaning and waste disposal services.

Companies in this subcategory employ about 85,000 people with an annual payroll of $2.6 billion.

Occupational Outlook 2015-2017

Architecture and Engineering
520 new positions
Growth rate: 1.9%

Legal professions
210 new positions
Growth rate: 2.2%

Business & Financial Operations
2,570 new positions
Growth rate: 3.6%

2,300 new positions
Growth rate: 2.9%

Computer & Mathematical
1,840 new positions
Growth rate: 4.4%

Office & Administrative Support
7,580 new positions
Growth rate of 3.0%

Source: Utah Department of Workforce Services