Despite a 30% dip in 2009, the world-wide laser industry recovered over 27% in 2010, to $6.37 billion; it is expected to grow over 12% in 2011 to $7.1 billion, according to the LFW Annual Laser Market Report.
As shown in the chart, 2/3 of the market is in the Communications and Materials Processing industries.
Diode lasers amount for 51% of the market and non-diode lasers account for 49%. One of the largest growth areas is fiber lasers, experiencing a 41% growth in 2010 and an even greater rate in 2011.
The demand for new laser technicians continued to outstrip the supply by over 4:1. Colleges report that 2010 grads received multiple job offers again in 2010. Job prospects for this year also look very good.
Reference: Overton, Gail, Anderson, Stephen G, Belforte, David A., & Hausken, Tom (2011). Skies may be clearing, but fog still lingers. Laser Focus World, January 2011, 40-42. http://www.qmags.com/2FE1161B162147DB111616AC3513143E462FF14B817.htm