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July 1982, Vol. 105, No. 7
Evaluating the 1980 projections
of occupational employment
Max L. Carey and Kevin Kasunic
How reliable were the 1980 occupational employment projections? The Bureau of Labor Statistics' estimates were on target for professional and service occupations, the two fastest growing occupational groups between 1970 and 1980.1 The projections were fairly accurate for farm, craft, clerical, and sales occupations. For the remaining three major occupational groups, BLS projections missed the mark by significant margins. BLS underestimated employment growth for managerial and administrative occupations and for nonfarm laborers, while overestimating employment in operative occupations.
Among individual occupations, the projections proved accurate for optometrists, physicians, veterinarians, elementary schoolteachers, police, and welders. Opportunities for lawyers and psychologists grew faster than anticipated. In a seeming anomaly of the impending "cashless society," cashiers and bank tellers could count on many more jobs than BLS projected, while the number of credit managers was less than anticipated.
As expected, projections for specific occupations were less accurate than for the major occupational groups. Despite some refinements, the 1980 projections were not quite as accurate as the 1975 estimates, which also spanned 10 years.2
This excerpt is from an article published in the July 1982 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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1 The Bureau's occupational projections for 1980 were published in Tomorrow's Manpower Needs, Volume IV, revised 1971, Bulletin 1737.
2 See Max L. Carey, "Evaluating the 1975 projections of occupational employment," Monthly Labor Review, June 1980, pp. 10-20.
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Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey
Occupational Employment Statistics
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