Marijuana is the fastest-growing industry in the US job market, according to a new report

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The US added 64,389 full-time legal cannabis jobs in 2018, according to a new report.

That outpaces growth in other sectors in the job market. Job openings in the cannabis industry have also surged.


Forget the energy industry. Marijuana appears to be the fastest-growing job sector in the US.

The US added 64,389 full-time legal cannabis jobs in 2018, according to a new report from the cannabis website Leafly and the consultancy Whitney Economics. That represented a 44% increase in total positions, which rose to 211,000.

And that's not counting jobs indirectly related to the marijuana industry, like lawyers, accountants, security consultants, media companies, and marketing firms. With those included, the report said, there were 296,000 payrolls in the sector last year.

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Because marijuana remains illegal under federal law, the BLS doesn't report employment figures for the industry. The report's authors used state data and industry figures to reach its estimates.

While the marijuana industry faces significant legal uncertainty, it has made headway in recent years. Recreational marijuana has been legalized by 10 states and Washington, DC.

And across the US, there are other signs the industry is booming. Job openings in the cannabis industry listed on the careers site Glassdoor rose to 1,512 last year from 858 in 2017.

"Investment in hiring is one of the strongest indicators for business confidence as it requires a substantial long-term investment of time, effort, and money," Glassdoor's Daniel Zhao wrote.

Overall hiring in the US slowed by more than expected in February, with the BLS indicating that the economy added its fewest jobs of any month since 2017. Economists will be closely watching the next BLS report for signs of whether that was just month-to-month noise or the start of a downward trend.

It’s unclear whether the marijuana industry would be able to keep up its growth levels in the face of a slowdown, said Josh Wright, the chief economist at iCIMS, a hiring software firm.

"The cannabis industry sounds big enough to make a difference for a lot of individual workers and perhaps communities, but on its own, it's not much of a recession-fighter," Wright said.

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