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November 1991, Vol. 114, No. 11
Occupational employment projections
George Silvestri and John Lukasiewicz
Total employment is projected to increase by 20 percent, or by 24.6 million jobs, between 1990 to 2005, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' moderate growth scenario for the U.S. economy.1 This rate of growth is just slightly more than half that of the previous 15-year period, 1975-90, largely because of the expected slowing of labor force growth.2 Projected changes in the industrial composition of employment and changes in technology, combined with the overall slowing of employment growth, cause the projected employment trends of some of the major occupational groups and numerous detailed occupations to depart from their historical growth rates.
In general, the projections show faster rates of employment growth for occupations that require higher levels of education or training and slower rates of growth for those requiring less formal education or training. However, many slower growing occupations are expected to add significant numbers of jobs, primarily because of their large employment bases. Such occupations also are expected to have large numbers of job openings over the 1990-2005 period to replace workers who leave the labor force or transfer to other occupations. Consequently, employers will continue to require workers at all levels of education and training. Nevertheless, the fact remains that workers with higher levels of education or training usually will have more options in the job market and better prospects for obtaining the higher paying jobs.
This article discusses projected changes in the occupational structure of U.S. employment from 1990 to 2005. It also includes analyses of the impact of various factors on occupational employment, especially industry employment trends and expected changes in the occupational structure of industries. Data are presented to show how much each of these factors contributes to the overall projected employment change of major occupational groups. Further, the discussion addresses the relationship of occupational growth to educational requirements and to average earnings. Finally, the implications of the projections for workers in minority groups and young high school dropouts are discussed.
This excerpt is from an article published in the November 1991 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 1990 employment estimates described in this article are derived from the Bureau's industry-occupation employment matrix, which includes data for more than 500 occupations and 250 detailed industries. The main sources of data used in the matrix are Current Employment Statistics (CES) estimates for total wage and salary jobs industry and Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) data for employment by occupation within detailed industries. Total employment and occupational staffing patterns of wage and salary workers in agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, and trapping and in private households are derived termed net entrants. Similarly, if more people leave than from the Current Population Survey (CPS). Economywide data on self-employed and unpaid family workers by occupation also are derived from the CPS. The estimates derived from the CES and OES differ from those obtained from the CPS in a number of important ways. For example, employed persons who hold more than one job are counted more than once in the CES and OES estimates, but not in the CPS data, which exclude the secondary jobs. The concept of employment in this article, therefore, represents the combined estimates, from the different sources cited above, of people who were working in 1990 and the numbers of workers expected to be demanded by employers in 2005
2 See Howard N Fullerton, Jr., "Labor force projections: the baby boom moves on," pp. 31-44.
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