Where will our children's jobs come from? It's something to ponder after the implosion of one of the manufacturing sector's linchpins.

The first, broad answer is the retreats of Ford, Holden and Toyota don't mean that Australia cannot create enough jobs.

There were just over 9 million people employed in Australia in November 2000. Employment in the manufacturing sector fell by 140,000 or 13 per cent between then and November last year, but total employment rose by 29 per cent or 2.62 million, to more than 11.6 million.

New South Wales lost 52,900 jobs or 18.5 per cent of its manufacturing workforce over the 13-year period. Victoria was hit even harder. It shed 95,100 jobs, more than 29 per cent of its manufacturing workforce.

NSW nevertheless created 276,100 jobs overall, boosting its employment base by 12.2 per cent. Victoria did even better, boosting total job numbers by 336,600, or 20.3 per cent.

They did it even though they were not sitting on mineral riches that underpinned a 196,500, 252 per cent rise in job numbers to 274,500 in the mining sector between 2000 and 2013 - and while their jobs growth slowed to a crawl between 2010 and 2013, the way they did it gives the next clue about where our kids will be working: it is the service sector that will be the growth engine.

It's still a complicated picture. Smaller job markets are, for example, more vulnerable to shocks such as a large company's collapse. Recent developments also make some sectors that have been growing look less promising in future.

The two biggest losers since 2000 have been manufacturing and agriculture, which saw job numbers drop by almost 30 per cent or 113,000 to 319,000 between 2000 and 2013. It has shed 38,900 jobs since November 2010, not far behind the manufacturing sector's much more actively discussed 56,600 job decline over the same years.

Media and telecommunications, has also been a job destroyer. Job numbers fell by 34,000 or 5 per cent to 193,700 between 2000 and 2013, and have dropped by almost 23 per cent in the past three years.

The real estate industry has also not been a job creator, despite the boom in house prices. Job numbers fell by 3.4 per cent or 6500 between 2000 and 2013.

There are more winners than losers, as Australia's total jobs growth suggests.

Job numbers in the healthcare industry jumped by 65 per cent or 555,600 between 2000 and 2013, to just over 1.4 million. Jobs in the construction industry rose by 364,000 or 54 per cent, to 1.04 million. Employment in the professional, scientific and technical services sector rose by 280,600 to 896,300, and jobs in public administration rose by 275,000 or 55 per cent to 774,000. The ranks of those employed in education and training rose by 40 per cent or almost 256,000 people to 896,000, and jobs in accommodation and food services rose by 139,000 or 21.7 per cent to 780,000.

The current outlook is different, however. Mining sector job growth between 2010 and 2013 was a less feverish 37.5 per cent as the commodity boom cooled. It will slow more as the development phase of the boom ends and miners crack down on operating expenses, and construction jobs are also affected. They rose by almost 20 per cent between 2005 to 2013, but by only 1.4 per cent between 2010 and 2013.

The public sector also won't reproduce its 10.9 per cent increase in jobs since 2010 as government cuts roll in, and growth in other sectors has slowed, to 3.9 per cent in the retail industry and 5 per cent in the professions, for example.

If your children want jobs in industries that are growing there are standouts. One is healthcare, a deep employment pool underpinned by baby-boomer demographics that has lifted job numbers by 37 per cent since 2005, and by more than 9 per cent since 2010.

Another is the finance sector, which also has depth with 420,000 jobs, and has grown job numbers by 11.8 per cent since 2005 and by 6.7 per cent since 2010 despite financial crisis aftershocks. The 212,000 job recreation and arts sector is smaller and more vulnerable to shocks, but has grown by 52 per cent since 2000, 20 per cent since 2005 and by 9 per cent since 2010.

Just like jobs in the manufacturing sector, jobs in the service sector run the gamut of pay and quality. Australia's education system is, however, delivering results that push employees away from the unskilled bottom of the scale.

That needs to continue. In America where education outcomes are more polarised, there are signs that the job market is hollowing out. Middle-wage US workers bore the brunt of layoffs during the global crisis, and median wages have been declining since the turn of the century.

mmaiden@fairfaxmedia.com.au