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May 2022 | Vol. 11 / No. 5

Recovering from the pandemic: A bright outlook for the personal care service industry

By Stanislava Ilic-Godfrey

A new haircut or manicure can boost self-confidence and make people feel better. As a result, many turn to professionals at barbershops, beauty and nail salons, and other personal care services for help to get that perfect haircut or style. The workers in this industry provide many beauty and wellness related treatments for hair, skin, nails, and body. According to employment projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the future looks bright for those who provide these services.

When excluding the recovery of jobs lost during the pandemic, the personal care services industry, which includes barbershops and beauty and nail salons, and other personal care services, is projected to grow 8.1 percent from 2020 to 2030, nearly five times faster than the average 1.7-percent growth for total employment. 1(See chart 1.)

This Beyond the Numbers article examines the main long-run factors expected to contribute to demand for personal care services employment: increasing demand for personal care and appearance services, a growing customer base, and new and expanded service offerings.

Faster employment growth projected and pandemic impact

The personal care services industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Occupations in this industry provide hair and nail care, massages, facials, and other in-person services that require close personal contact. In 2020, government-imposed shutdowns, restrictions on businesses, and mandates for social distancing resulted in the temporary closure of many beauty salons, barber shops, and other personal care services establishments and negatively affected industry employment. However, many businesses started reopening as governments eased restrictions by following a set of mitigating measures, such as wearing masks, more frequent cleaning, and limited indoor capacity to serve their customers.2

Thus, most of the projected growth in this industry (about 24.9 percent) is likely to occur in the short term as cyclical recovery as employment returns to prepandemic levels. The remaining (about 8.1 percent) of the total projected growth (33 percent) in the industry is attributable to the long-term industry growth (See chart 1 and table 1.)

Table 1. Projected employment change for total, all industries and personal care services, by percentage, 2020–30
Industry Employment percent change, 2020–30 Percent employment change 2020–30, excluding pandemic recovery Percent employment change 2020–30 due to expected pandemic recovery

Total, all industries

7.7 1.7 6.0

Personal care services

33.0 8.1 24.9

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The personal care services industry includes barbershops and beauty salons, nail salons, and other personal care services.3 In these establishments, workers primarily provide hair and nail care, facials, makeup treatments, and massages. Other services may include tattoos, saunas, ear piercings, hair replacement (except for procedures performed by physician offices), weaving, tanning, and diet and weight-reducing services.

These occupations are typically employed in personal care service:

Barbers, hairdressers, and hairstylists, and cosmetologists typically provide hair care, haircutting, hairstyling, coloring, and a range of other beauty services.

Manicurists and pedicurists take care of cleaning, shaping, and beautifying fingernails and toenails.

Skincare specialists provide a range of skin treatments, including facials, skin peels, scrubs, and masks to clean the skin. They also may give full-body treatments, and head and neck massages to improve the health and appearance of the skin.

Massage therapists give therapeutic massages of soft tissues and joints. They also may help in the assessment of range of motion and muscle strength or propose client therapy plans.

What’s behind the projected fast growth?

The primary long-term factors driving employment growth in the personal care services industry are the general increase in demand for grooming services, a growing customer base, and the introduction of new services.

General increase in demand for grooming hair, nails, and skin

On average, men get a haircut six times a year, compared with women who go to a salon about four times a year.4 Throughout the pandemic, people experimented with cutting and styling their own hair, or having someone at home try to do that for them, but many found it hard to match the quality provided by a professional stylist or barber.5 In addition, customers continue to seek a variety of treatments, including cuts, highlights, and straightening, that require skillful barbers and hairstylists.6 Trends in hair cutting and styling change over time, and these evolving trends are expected to continue to drive demand for hair and beauty salon professionals over the next decade.

Manicures, pedicures, and nail color changes services are considered an affordable luxury by many customers.7 Demand for nail services is expected to grow with social media and celebrities’ popularization of various nail shapes, extensions, artsy designs, and coloring, which are more complex than basic manicures and pedicures.8 This will continue to contribute to fast employment growth for manicurists and pedicurists in nail salons over the next decade.

The Zoom effect: increased importance of online appearance

The rapid development of smartphone cameras and social media allowed many users to see and examine their own appearance in digital photos and videos. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift to telework and increased time spent and reliance on social media and video platforms for meetings, parties, and other social events.9 Many individuals’ increased presence has raised their awareness of their online personal appearance. For many, the skin appearance is increasingly important, as they spend more time on social media and video conferencing apps.10 Consumers, including those concerned with aging or damaged skin, seek facials, cleaning, and other skin treatments to improve their skin appearance.11 Many beauty and nail salons also offer mini sessions for facials or nail care, quick treatments at a lower cost.12

The power of touch: the many benefits of massage

The benefits of massage—such as in reducing stress and anxiety, helping improve sleep, lessening pain and muscle tension—have been known for some time.13 Demand for massage therapy is increasing as people consider this type of service as a necessity. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs approved therapeutic massage as an alternative way to manage or treat pain in veterans care.14 According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), 63 percent of consumers who received a massage for health and wellness reasons did so as part of a treatment from a doctor or medical provider in 2021.15

Growing male customer base

In recent years, men have increasingly enjoyed treatments, including hairstyling, nail care, and facials, as they are also becoming more mindful of their appearance and well-being.16 Many services are becoming available to men beyond basic haircuts, such as eyebrow threading, beard shaping, and body waxing at barber shops, hairstylist salons, and beauty salons.17

Additionally, manicure and pedicure services are no longer exclusively for women. Men also value the benefits of professional nail care for appearance and other reasons. For many men, pedicures can be an effective way to maintain foot hygiene by keeping the feet and nails clean, increasing blood circulation, or taking care of other foot issues.18

In an effort to attract more male customers, some businesses operate as salons offering services to men only.19 Others see this segment of the potential customers as underserved, and offer combined treatments of haircuts, shaves, and hand and foot care to attract new male clients.20 Also, men are seeing more benefits for their wellness from spas and facial treatments.21 A 2021 AMTA survey found that men are now more likely than women to get a massage.22

New and expanding offerings

Numerous new personal care services have been popularized in recent years. In addition to basic manicures and pedicures, nail services include manicure styles, extensions, and a growing trend in artificial nails with various design offerings and adornments.23

Skin care services are focused on treatments to improve how the skin looks. New treatments are being introduced as part of a greater variety of facials that include services such as peels, microdermabrasion, and ultrasonic technology, among other services.24 Access to massage treatments has become available at places with increased foot traffic, such as at malls and at airports, where massage rooms enable travelers to get massages for stress reduction and relaxation.25 Additionally, eyelash extension is a relatively new trend, with more specialized salons opening to offer this service exclusively.26

The rising popularity of eyebrow shaping, tattoos, and tattoo removal treatments are contributing to the growth in many hair and skin personal appearance occupations.27 Some establishments are also adding new services to attract customers, such as meditation, or food and beverage offerings with nail works.28 The expansion in the variety of services available will contribute to projected employment growth among the group of occupations that provide skin, hair, and nail care.


Employment in the personal care services industry is expected to grow almost 5 times faster than the average for the total economy over the 2020–30 period. Increasing demand for hair, skin, nail, and massage services from a growing customer population will drive employment growth over the projected 10-year period. In addition, an expanded customer base to include more men and increased offerings of services will also contribute to faster employment in the industry and occupations providing these services, such as barbers, hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists, manicurists and pedicurists, skin care specialists, and massage therapists.

This Beyond the Numbers article was prepared by Stanislava Ilic-Godfrey, economist in Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Email:; telephone: (202) 691-6700.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services or the information voice phone at: (202) 691-5200. This article is in the public domain and may be reproduced without permission.

Suggested citation:

Stanislava Ilic-Godfrey , “Recovering from the pandemic: A bright outlook for the personal care service industry ,” Beyond the Numbers: Employment & Unemployment, vol. 11, no. 5 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2022),

1 Employment recovery from the COVID-19 recession is set to accelerate growth in many industries and occupations that lost jobs in 2020, including personal care services. Many barber shops, beauty and nail salons, and other personal care services closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and government restrictions. As many government restrictions were lifted, these businesses are expected to reopen to meet the pent-up consumer demand for beaty services, add jobs lost due to the pandemic, and accelerate the overall growth. This part of jobs growth refers to the job recovery due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on categorizing projected growth rates in the 2020–30 projections as cyclically or structurally driven, see the “Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the 2020–30 projections” section in “Projections overview and highlights, 2020–30,”Monthly Labor Review, This industry and its occupations experienced unprecedented job losses from February to April 2020, the period identified as a recession by National Bureau of Economic Research, see “U.S. Business Cycle Expansions and Contractions” (Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, last updated July 19, 2021),

2 See Elizabeth Paton, “Hair Salons Reopen, and Americans Rush Back,” The New York Times, June 12, 2020,

3 For more information about the industry definition for Personal Care Services (812100) from the North America Industry Classification System (NAICS), see

4 See Debra Carpenter, “How Often Should You Get a Haircut? More Than You Think,” You Probably Need a Haircut, February 27, 2022,

5 See Kari Molvar, “How Can I Cut My Own Hair—and Make It Look Good?,” The Wall Street Journal, February 3, 2021,

6 See Lisa Starr, “7 Beauty and Grooming Trends Every Salon Should Know for 2021,” Mindbody Online, accessed on January 20, 2022,

7 See “United States Nail Salons Market 2021: Demand Still Strong for Affordable Luxury,” Research and Markets, September 29, 2021,

8 See Nicole Davis, “The Evolution of the Nails Industry,” NailsMag, December 3, 2021,

9 See Shauna M. Rice, Julia A. Siegel, Tiffany Libby, Emmy Graber, and Arianne Shadi Kourosh, “Zooming into cosmetic procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic: The provider’s perspective,” International Journal of Women’s Dermatology, Volume 7, Issue 2, March 2021, pp. 213-216,

10 See Shauna M. Rice, Julia A. Siegel, Tiffany Libby, Emmy Graber, and Arianne Shadi Kourosh, “Zooming into cosmetic procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic: The provider’s perspective,” International Journal of Women’s Dermatology, Volume 7, Issue 2, March 2021, pp. 213-216,

11 See Transparency Market Research, “Strategic Analysis to Understand the Competitive Outlook of Spas and Beauty Salons Market,” Digital Journal, February 16, 2022,

12 See The Garden Day Spa & Salon, “Facials,” accessed on February 18, 2022,; Kerrie Main, “What is a mini pedicure?,” BeautyAnswered, April 10, 2022,

13 See Cleveland Clinic, “Everything You Need to Know About Massage Therapy,” November 11, 2021,

14 See U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “Massage Therapy,” accessed January 20, 2022,

15 See American Massage Therapy Association, “Massage Therapy Industry Fact Sheet,” accessed January 20, 2022,

16 See Margo Badzioch, “Hair Comes the Groom: Men’s Grooming Trends in 2019,”Mindbody Online Blog, accessed January 20, 2022,; Joseph DeAcetis, “Find Out Why There’s Been A Great Shift In Men’s Perception Toward Grooming,” Forbes, March 2, 2020,

17 See GlossGenius, “Trends in Men’s Grooming: Tips for Your Salon or Barbershop,” December 14, 2021,

18 See Andrea Brown, “No more gnarly feet: This ‘Wounded Warrior’ gets pedicures,” HeraldNet, January 18, 2022,; Garrett Munce, “Pedicures for Men: Everything You Need to Know, According to a Podiatrist,” Men’s Health, March 11, 2022.

19 See Tod Perry, “Woman opens a nail salon exclusively for men to change perceptions of masculinity,” Upworthy, May 26, 2021,

20 See “Hammer & Nails Signs Four Franchise Agreements to Expand the Grooming Shop for Men's Presence in Ohio: New Franchisees Set to Open Locations in the Cleveland and Cincinnati Areas,” Hammer & Nails Grooming Shop For Guys, May 26, 2021,

21 See Leanne Italie, “Spas are seeing more men, a less-is-more approach for guests,” AP News, August 12, 2019,; UCLA Labor Center, “NAIL FILES: A Study of Nail Salons Workers and industry in the United States,” November 2018, p. 42.,

22 See American Massage Therapy Association, “Massage Therapy Industry Fact Sheet,” accessed January 20, 2022,

23 See Nicole Davis, “The Evolution of the Nails Industry,” NAILS Magazine, December 3, 2021,

24 See Kelsey Oliver, “IBISWorld Industry Report 81211 Hair & Nail Salons in the US,” IBISWorld, October 2017, p.15,

25 See Cristina Alcivar, “12 Airport Spas in the U.S. Worth Visiting,” Vane, January 10, 2020,

26 See Joan Verdon, “The Eyes Have It: How the Self-Care Trend Is Fueling Amazing Lash Studio’s Growth Despite COVID-19,” CO-U.S. Chamber of Commerce, October 27, 2020,

27 See Melissa Magsaysay, “Wax. Tweeze. Microblade. Glue. How eyebrows became everything,” Los Angeles Times, February 27, 2020,; “Tattoo Vanish Method Now Offering Med Spas Opportunity to Add Tattoo Removal as Add On Business,” Barbara Alfonso, Tattoo Vanish Method, LLC, March 6, 2019,

28 Linh Ta, “Get a manicure, jello shots and an IV cocktail at this new nail salon at Court Avenue,” The Des Moines Register, April 9, 2019,

Publish Date: Friday, May 20, 2022