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Making informed career decisions requires reliable information about
opportunities that should be available in the future. This chapter presents
highlights of Bureau of Labor Statistics projections of industry and
occupational employment and the labor force, that can help guide your career
A slowdown in employment growth is expected.
- Over the 1994-2005 period, employment is projected to increase by 17.7 million or 14 percent. This is slower than the 24 percent increase attained during the 11-year period, 1983-94, when the economy added 24.6 million jobs.
- Wage and salary worker employment will account for 95 percent of this increase. In addition, the number of self-employed workers is expected to increase by 950,000, to 11.6 million in 2005, while the number of unpaid family workers will decline.
Service-producing industries will account for most new jobs
(see chart 1).
- Employment growth is projected to be highly concentrated by industry. The services and retail trade industries will account for 16.2 million out of a total projected growth of 16.8 million wage and salary jobs.
- Business, health, and education services will account for 70 percent of the growth9.2 million out of 13.6 million jobswithin services.
- Health care services will account for almost one-fifth of all job growth from 1994-2005. Factors contributing to continued growth in this industry include the aging population, which will continue to require more services, and the increased use of innovative medical technology for intensive diagnosis and treatment. Patients will increasingly be shifted out of hospitals and into outpatient facilities, nursing homes, and home health care in an attempt to contain costs.
- The personnel supply services industry, which provides temporary help to employers in other industries, is projected to add 1.3 million jobs from 1994 to 2005. Temporary workers tend to have low wages, low job stability, and poor job benefits.
The goods-producing sector will decline
(see chart 2).
- The goods-producing sector faces declining employment in two of its four industriesmanufacturing and mining. Employment in the other two industriesconstruction, and agriculture, forestry, and fishingis expected to increase.
- Employment in manufacturing is expected to continue to decline, losing 1.3 million jobs over the 1994-2005 period. Operators, fabricators, and laborers, and precision production, craft, and repair occupations are expected to account for more than 1 million of these lost jobs. Systems analysts and other computer-related occupations in manufacturing are expected to increase.
Job opportunities can arise in two waysjob growth and replacement
needs (see chart 3).
- Job growth can be measured by percent change and numerical change. The fastest growing occupations do not necessarily provide the largest number of jobs. Even though an occupation is expected to grow rapidly, it may provide fewer openings than a slower growing, larger occupation.
- Opportunities in large occupations are enhanced by the additional job openings resulting from the need to replace workers who leave the occupation. Some workers leave the occupation as they are promoted or change careers; others stop working to return to school, assume household responsibilities, or retire.
- Replacement needs are greater in occupations with low pay and status, low training requirements, and a high proportion of young and part-time workers.
- Replacement needs will account for 29.4 million job openings from 1994 to 2005, far more than the 17.7 million openings projected to arise from employment growth.
Employment change will vary widely by broad occupational group
(see chart 4).
- Employment in professional specialty occupations is projected to increase at a faster rate than any other major occupational group.
- Among the major occupational groups, employment in professional specialty occupations is also projected to account for the most job growth from 1994-2005.
- Professional specialty occupationswhich require high educational attainment and offer high earningsand service occupationswhich require lower educational attainment and offer lower earningsare expected to account for more than half of all job growth between 1994 and 2005.
- Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and related occupations is the only major occupational group projected to decline. All job openings in this group will stem from replacement needs.
- Office automation is expected to have a significant effect on many individual administrative and clerical support occupations.
- Precision production, craft, and repair occupations and operators, fabricators, and laborers are projected to grow much more slowly than average due to continuing advances in technology, changes in production methods, and the overall decline in manufacturing employment.
Twenty occupations will account for half of all job growth over the
1994-2005 period (see chart 5).
- The 20 occupations accounting for half of all job growth over the 1994-2005 period tend to be large in size rather than fast growing. Three health occupations are in the top 10, and 3 education-related occupations are in the second 10.
The fastest growing occupations reflect growth in computer technology
and health services (see chart 6).
- Many of the fastest growing occupations are concentrated in health services, which is expected to increase more than twice as fast as the economy as a whole. Personal and home care aides, and home health aides, are expected to be in great demand to provide personal and physical care for an increasing number of elderly people and for persons who are recovering from surgery and other serious health conditions. This is occurring as hospitals and insurance companies mandate shorter stays for recovery to contain costs.
- Employment of computer engineers and systems analysts is expected to grow rapidly to satisfy expanding needs for scientific research and applications of computer technology in business and industry (see chart 6).
Declining occupational employment stems from declining industry
employment and technological change (see chart 7).
- Farmers, garment sewing machine operators, and private household cleaners and servants are examples of occupations that will lose employment because of declining industry employment.
- Many declining occupations are affected by structural changes, resulting from technological advances, organizational changes, and other factors that affect the employment of workers. For example, the use of typists and word processors is expected to decline substantially because of productivity improvements resulting from office automation, and the increased use of word processing equipment by professional and managerial employees.
Education and training affect job opportunities
(see chart 8 and
- Workers in jobs with low education and training requirements tend to have greater occupational mobility. Consequently, these jobs will provide a larger than proportional share of all job openings stemming from replacement needs.
- Jobs requiring the most education and training will grow faster than jobs with lower education and training requirements.
- Table 1 presents the fastest growing occupations and those having the largest numerical increase in employment over the 1994-2005 period, categorized by level of education and training.
Jobs requiring the most education and training will be the fastest growing and highest paying.
- Occupations which require a bachelor's degree or above will average 23 percent growth, almost double the 12-percent growth projected for occupations that require less education and training.
- Occupations that pay above average wages are projected to grow faster than occupations with below average wages. Jobs with above average wages are expected to account for 60 percent of employment growth over the 1994-2005 period. Jobs with higher earnings often require higher levels of education and training.
- Education is important in getting a high paying job. However, many occupationsfor example, registered nurses, blue-collar worker supervisors, electrical and electronic technicians/technologists, carpenters, and police and detectivesdo not require a college degree, yet offer higher than average earnings.
- Groups in the labor force with lower than average educational attainment in 1994, including Hispanics and blacks, will continue to have difficulty obtaining a share of the high paying jobs that is consistent with their share of the labor force, unless their educational attainment rises. Although high paying jobs will be available without college training, most jobs that pay above average wages will require a college degree.
- Educational services are projected to increase by 2.2 million jobs and account for 1 out of every 8 jobs that will be added to the economy between 1994 and 2005. Most jobs will be for teachers, who are projected to account for about 20 percent of all jobs available for college graduates.
- Projected employment growth of the occupations whose earnings rank in the top quartile in the Nation was highly concentrated. Eight of the 146 occupations will account for about half of the new jobs: Registered nurses, systems analysts, blue-collar worker supervisors, general managers and top executives, and four teaching occupationselementary school teachers, secondary school teachers, college faculty, and special education teachers.
Jobs requiring the least education and training will provide the most
openings, but offer the lowest pay (see chart 9).
- The distribution of jobs by education and training, and earnings, will change little over the 1994-2005 period, with jobs requiring the least amount of education and training, and generally offering low pay, continuing to account for about 4 of every 10 jobs.
- Jobs which require moderate-length and short-term training and
experience (the two categories requiring the least amount of
education and training) will provide over half of total job
openings over the 1994-2005 period.
The labor force will continue to grow faster than the population.
- Spurred by the growing proportion of women who work, the labor force will grow slightly faster than the population over the 1994-2005 period.
Women will continue to comprise an increasing share of the labor force
(see chart 10).
- Women, as a result of a faster rate of growth than men, are projected
to represent a slightly greater portion of the labor force in 2005
than in 1994increasing from 46 to 48 percent.
- The number of men in the labor force is projected to grow, but at a slower rate than in the past, in part reflecting declining employment in good-paying production jobs in manufacturing, and a continued shift in demand for workers from the goods-producing sector to the service-producing sector. Men with less education and training may find it increasingly difficult to obtain jobs consistent with their experience.
The labor force will become increasingly diverse
(see chart 11).
- The number of Hispanics, and Asians and other races, will increase much faster than blacks and white non-Hispanics. Blacks will increase faster than white non-Hispanics.
- Despite relatively slow growth, resulting in a declining share of
the labor force, white non-Hispanics will still make up the vast
majority of workers in 2005.
Interested in More Detail?
Readers interested in more information about projections and detail on the labor force,
economic growth, industry and occupational employment, or methods and assumptions should consult
the November 1995 Monthly Labor Review;
The Employment Outlook: 1994-2005,
BLS Bulletin 2472 or the Fall 1995
Occupational Outlook Quarterly. Information on
the limitations inherent in economic projections also can be found in these publications.
For more information about employment change, job openings, earnings,
unemployment rates, and training requirements by occupation, consult
Occupational Projections and Training
Data, 1996 Edition, BLS Bulleting 2471.
Howard N Fullerton, Jr
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Last modified: March 7, 1996
Cite: Occupational Outlook Handbook, 1996-97, UM-St. Louis Libraries Edition, derived and modified by Raleigh Muns July 20, 1996, from http://stats.bls.gov/ocohome.htm