How Many Jobs Are Available in Basic Industries

How Many Jobs Are Available in Basic Industries

The basic industry sector is larger than most sectors. The industries in this sector deal directly with raw materials that are extracted and collected from mother nature.

Despite the size of the sector, many people are still concerned about their futures and working in one of the basic industries.

Unemployment is stirring up an unknown fear in all of us! We're all concerned and wondering how many jobs are available in basic industries.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics recently shone a light on the future of this sector. They revealed a statistic that shocked many!

There are a total of 24,504,000 jobs available in basic industries!

This number is only expected to grow. By the year 2031, there will be 2% more jobs than there are now.

Yes, even more than 24 and a half million!

So, rest assured, you will be more than fine if you decide to start a career in basic industries.

What are basic industries?

Basic industries work for the sole purpose of exporting their raw materials. In some cases, they'll sell some of their products to local companies and other consumer industries.

They contribute greatly to the country's economy because of the exports that they generate. This means that they bring in foreign currencies, which is very good for the economy.

There are 7 main categories of basic industries, namely:

  • The oil and gas industry
  • The mining industry
  • The agricultural industry
  • The forestry industry
  • The paper and pulp industry
  • The steel industry
  • The chemical industry

All of these basic industries produce unique raw materials, for example:

  • The oil and gas industry extracts natural gases & oils from the earth's surface
  • The mining industry extracts ores and minerals from the earth's surface
  • The agricultural industry produces crops and plants that can be used in food
  • The forestry industry maintains forests and uses the wood from trees to produce other products
  • The paper and pulp industry supplies many other industries with paper and pulp to use daily
  • The steel industry produces and manipulates steel to build infrastructure
  • The chemical industry mixes chemicals to make household items, like soap and paint

Different types of basic industries & available jobs

1. Oil and gas industry

The oil and gas industry is responsible for all the fossil fuels and natural gases that get extracted from the earth's surface. Oils and gases play an essential part in producing most final goods.

There are three main levels in the oil and gas industry, namely the upstream, midstream, and downstream levels. Each of these levels has a distinct purpose and different jobs.

The upstream level is the extraction level. This is where the oils and gases get extracted from the earth's surface by big companies.

The workers at this level are responsible for the location, extraction, and production of oils and gases. 

Some upstream-level jobs include:

  • Drilling engineer
  • Mining engineer
  • Miner
  • Geologist
  • Rig operator

The next level is the midstream level. This is the movement level at which companies have the task of moving the extracted oils and gases.

They have to transport it from the extraction sites to the companies that are going to refine it. Some companies at the midstream level are responsible for storing the oils and gases until it is ready to be moved.

Some midstream-level jobs include:

  • Pipeline technician
  • Driver
  • Pipeline operator
  • Mechanic

Lastly, we have the downstream level. This is the final stage in the production of raw materials. It's where the natural gases and oils get refined to be used for various purposes.

Petrol, gasoline, and diesel are all examples of refined materials that were extracted from the earth.

Some downstream-level jobs include:

  • Petroleum engineer
  • Chemical engineer
  • Project manager
  • Environmental manager

2. Agriculture industry

The agriculture industry is responsible for all the food we eat. It's the collection of farmlands and agricultural lands that produce and harvest foods. These foods include anything from crops to meat and dairy.

The raw foods are outsourced to other industries for large-scale production of the foods we buy in stores. An example of this is a cow that gets milked on a farm, and then the milk goes to a dairy factory to be processed.

The final product would be the pasteurized, packaged milk you buy at the grocery store.

Some agricultural companies specialize in commercial agriculture. In these cases, they harvest and produce foods with the intent of exporting them to other countries.

Some agriculture industry jobs include:

  • Farm worker
  • Agronomist
  • Farmer
  • Horticulturist
  • Farm manager
  • Economist

3. Forestry industry

Contrary to popular belief, the forestry industry isn't just responsible for chopping down trees. The professionals in this industry are also responsible for planting new trees and maintaining the existing forests.

Many useful raw materials are found in forests. It's the job of forestry industry workers to gather these materials. It is then sold to other industries that use it to produce final goods.

An example of this is wood that gets cut from trees, which is sold to factories to produce furniture.

Some forestry industry jobs include:

  • Project manager
  • Logger
  • Environmentalist
  • Heavy equipment operator
  • Forest manager

4. Steel industry

The steel industry is one of the most critical industries in any country. Steel exports benefit the economy, and steel is also used to build infrastructure.

There are many factories where steel and other metals are manufactured. It usually involves a very, very high heat that melts the metal to form shapes. The workers who handle these machines need to be skilled because it's an extremely dangerous job.

Some jobs in the steel industry include:

  • Steelworker
  • Heavy equipment operator
  • Metal engineer
  • Production line supervisors
  • Metal fabricators

5. Chemical industry

The chemical industry is responsible for producing chemicals like paint, dye, pesticides, and detergents.

This industry uses the raw materials that are extracted from the earth in the oil and gas industry. The gasses are chemically manipulated and mixed with other ingredients to create everyday household items.

Most of the workers in this industry need to hold a degree or some type of certification because it's a dangerous industry.

Jobs in the chemical industry include:

  • Chemical plant operator
  • Toxic waste handler
  • Environmental engineer
  • Chemical engineer
  • Laboratory technician
  • Chemist

6. Mining industry

The mining industry is vital to the economies of many countries. The industry is responsible for extracting natural resources from the earth's surface. These natural resources include diamonds, platinum, iron, coal, and gold.

The resources get sorted and exported to other countries. In some cases, it gets used for the production of other goods and products.

Some jobs in the mining industry include:

  • Security Officer
  • Geological engineer
  • Heavy equipment operator
  • Electrician
  • Health and safety officer
  • Driller
  • Mining engineer

7. Paper & pulp industry

The paper and pulp industry gets its raw materials from the forestry industry and outsources them to other industries.

The industry uses wood and other forest materials to produce everyday products like paper, pulp, and cardboard. These products are used in other industries for different purposes, like packaging and publication or marketing.

Some jobs in the paper and pulp industry include:

  • Administrator
  • Laboratory technician
  • Chemical, mechanical or electrical engineer
  • Chemist
  • Machine Operator
  • Driver

So, how many jobs are available in basic industries?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs available in basic industries in the US is no less than 24,504,000.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a 2% growth in this industry over the next decade.

We took it upon ourselves to find some job examples to give you an even better idea about the different career paths in basic industries. Here are some options, with projected growth data straight from the BLS and salary data from

Metal Fabricator: $47,909 per year

Metal fabricators work in the steel industry. They handle physical pieces of metal daily.

Their job is to manipulate it to match certain requirements and specifications.

In most cases, they'll be supplied with a blueprint or design that shows what the end product should look like. If there is no drawing, they must listen to the instructions and work with what they've got.

They use many tools and machines to cut metal pieces into different shapes and sizes. They must also know how to weld because they frequently have to join pieces together.

Metal fabricators also use extremely high temperatures to melt the metal. This makes it easier to work with and make new forms.

There are more than 77,000 metal fabricator jobs in the US. Unfortunately, this number is set to decline by 11% over the next ten years.

Metal fabricators earn an average of $47,909 per year.

Miner: $87,931 per year

Miners work in the mining industry. They drill into the ground to find natural resources and minerals.

Miners have the job of blowing up rocks under the ground to make new tunnels or holes.

They can have several tasks underground, including drilling, operating machinery, using picks to expose ore, and transporting the minerals to the surface.

There are a lot of mining jobs in the US. The expected number of job openings is set to be 4% more in 2031 than it was in 2021.

Mining is a dangerous industry, so the workers are compensated for the risk of going underground. US miners earn an average of $87,931 per year.

Iron Worker: $57,202 per year

Ironworkers work in the steel industry. They work with steel and iron in particular. Their job is to manipulate layers of metal into forms to be used for certain purposes.

Their manipulation techniques include cutting, welding, melting, and molding the metals. They work with plans like blueprints to understand the requirements and specifications.

Iron and steel are used to build large frames. These frames are used to build infrastructure, like buildings and bridges.

Their job is very important because they need to ensure that the metal is strong enough to last by reinforcing every piece.

There are currently more than 58,000 ironworker jobs in the US. This number will increase by 11% over the next ten years. Ironworkers earn an average of $57,202 per year.

Food Scientist: $54,941 per year

Food scientists have a very, very important job. They test food and the ingredients used to make it to ensure that consumers won't get sick or die when they eat it.

The lists at the back of any packaging that outlines the nutritional value and additives are compiled by food scientists.

These professionals need to be highly qualified and skilled to do their job thoroughly. The US will need more food scientists in the next ten years. 9% more to be exact.

Existing and new food scientists can expect to earn an average salary of $54,941 per year.

Steelworker: $37,949 per year

Steelworkers work in the steel industry. They specialize in steel structures, like bridges and stadiums. They use the steel that gets fabricated by ironworkers.

Their job duties include the reparations, installations, and construction of steel infrastructure. They also work with steel frames and manipulate them for certain structures.

The steel bridges and buildings that you see every day were made and reinforced by steelworkers.

The future looks bright for steelworkers because the BLS projected job growth of 11% over the next decade. These workers earn an average of $39,949 per year.

Logger: $33,185 per year

Loggers work in the forestry industry. They are also known as lumberjacks or lumbermen.

Their main job is cutting down trees. They need to ensure that the area around the tree is clear before they chop it down.

When the tree has fallen, they must load it onto a truck or a tractor. To ensure the logs don't fall or roll off, they must know how to fasten them with cables or wires.

Other lumberjack duties include operating the machinery that moves the logs and separating them by type.

We have some bad news for future lumberjacks. There won't be any extra jobs opening in the next ten years. By 2031, the number of open logger jobs in the US will have declined by 14%.

Lumberjacks earn an average salary of $33,185 per year. If you're in the field and you would like to stay there, hold onto your job!

Agronomist: $68,099 per year

Agronomists, or agriculturists, work in the agricultural industry. They have a lot of knowledge and skills that relate to farming.

They do scientific experiments and tests to guide and advise farmers on the best way to increase the quality and quantity of their crops.

There aren't a lot of job openings for agronomists in the US, but there is an expected growth of 7% over the next ten years.

Agronomists are financially rewarded with an average salary of $68,099 per year.

Drilling Engineer: $126,947 per year

Drilling engineers, or petroleum engineers, work in the oil and gas industry. This is one of the highest-paying jobs in basic industries.

Drilling engineers are the masterminds behind the extraction of natural gases and oils. They supervise the entire extraction process to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

You'll need a bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering to get a good job in this field. If you land a job, you can expect an average salary of $126,947 annually.

There will be more than 1700 drilling engineer jobs opening each year over the next ten years. This is a projected growth of 8%.

Materials Specialist: $51,226 per year

Materials specialists can work in more than one basic industry sector. They choose the right materials for different projects based on several factors.

They have a vast knowledge of materials and their properties. They do a lot of research on materials and their uses. In some cases, they need to construct a new material to suit a certain project.

There is a projected materials specialist job growth of 6% over the next decade. This means an average of more than 1700 jobs will open annually until 2031.

Materials specialists earn an average of $51,226 per year.

Horticulturist: $45,356 per year

Horticulturists work in the agricultural industry. They work with plants and crops to ensure that they look, laste, and smell better.

They are also in charge of researching different plants and crops to improve their quality. They also work out strategies to improve crop sizes.

Their knowledge about flora needs to be vast, because they work with plants, trees, bushes, crops, and flowers.

There is a projected horticulturist job growth of 7% over the next decade. This translates to an average of more than 500 jobs opening each year.

These professionals earn an average salary of $45,356 per year.

Civil engineer: $86,092 per year

Civil engineers work in multiple industries. They are responsible for designing, building, and maintaining infrastructure.

They can choose to work in the public sector or the private sector. In both cases, their assignments will include buildings, airports, roads, bridges, and dams.

There is a lot of professional training that prospective civil engineers need to do after obtaining a bachelor's degree.

There are five main types of civil engineering, namely:

  • Infrastructure engineering includes bridges, roads, and railways
  • Structural engineering includes any structures, like houses, skyscrapers, and other buildings
  • Environmental engineering includes waste management and recycling
  • Geotechnical engineering involves assessing the risk of natural disasters or bad weather conditions impacting the infrastructure
  • Transportation engineering includes all types of transport, like railways and roads

The number of open jobs is set to increase by 7% over the next ten years. There will be 24,200 civil engineer jobs opening each year until 2031.

The different types of civil engineers all earn different salaries. The average annual salary for civil engineers, in general, currently stands at $86,092.

Geoscientist: $110,629 per year

Geoscientists work in multiple basic industry sectors. They use many resources to get an estimated location of natural resources and minerals.

They use rock samples and aerial photography to analyze different areas and make an estimation. They also estimate the size of ores and minerals.

There will be 2400 jobs opening each year until 2031, a projected growth of 5%.

Geoscientists earn an average salary of $110,629 per year. This number varies according to the company they work for and their qualifications.

Average salaries of basic industry jobs

There truly is no right or wrong when it comes to earnings. Every employer chooses their own rate according to their needs and the qualifications of their employees.

Nonetheless, according to collected data, here are the average salaries of some basic industry jobs:

  • Forensic scientist: $60,790 per year
  • Synthetic chemist: $76,094 per year
  • Truck driver: $81,987 per year
  • Health and safety officer: $81,083 per year
  • Metallurgist: $91,118 per year
  • Veterinarian: $126,278 per year
  • Farmworker: $37,065 per year
  • Farmer: $36,548 per year
  • Mining engineer: $95,155 per year
  • Rig operator/ rigger: $69,716 per year
  • Security officer: $57,570 per year

Most of these basic sector examples include a lot of employee benefits. These benefits can include paid leave, health insurance, and contributions to a retirement fund.


You asked how many jobs are available in basic industries, and we answered. The number currently stands at 24 million jobs and counting.

From truck drivers to livestock veterinarians, it would appear that basic industries are the way to go. In most of these jobs, the salaries are very rewarding.

They include great benefits, and some don't require long hours. Additionally, you can work yourself up in basic industry jobs and almost double your current salary.

If you've been considering one of the basic industries as a career path, we say you should go for it!

Written by

Hamid NOUASRIAMarch 18, 2023

I am the CEO and founder of Overmentality. I am a professional business and technical blogs writer and on-page SEO specialist. I hold a degree in Culture Studies and Media Literacy from the English Humanities and Art Department. And I am interested in Digital Marketing, Business, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, and pets of course!

You can reach me via email hair:

Or find me on my LinkedIn Profile.



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