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November 1995, Vol. 118, No. 11
Summary of BLS projections to 2005
Ronald E. Kutscher
For several decades, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has prepared projections of the U.S. economy. Since 1983, the projections have been completed on a regular 2-year cycle. This issue of the Monthly Labor Review presents the latest projections covering the labor force, the economic framework for subsequent stages of the projections, and employment by industry and occupation. The projections use three alternative scenarios (high, low, and moderate) for the 1994-2005 period. The scenarios highlight some of the uncertainties concerning the future and a possible range of some of the more critical factors, particularly factors which may have a significant impact on the labor market. This article summarizes the moderate projection results. The details of all of the alternatives are discussed in each of the accompanying articles.
The articles compare the 1994-2005 projections with the 11-year 1983-94 historical period. However, projections of the labor force use the 1982-93 period for purposes of comparison, because changes in the questionnaire of the Current Population Survey (from which labor force data are derived) in January 1994 affected comparability between 1994 and earlier years. The labor force projections, however, use 1994 as the base year.
The labor force
Since the very large baby-boom group completed their entry into the labor force in the late 1970's and early 1980's, the labor force has continued to grow, but at a markedly slower rate. The 1994-2005 labor force is projected to continue that patted. The change over this period is expected to be slightly more than 12 percent, or a growth rate of 1.1 percent a year. (See table 1.) This change is compared with the 16-percent expansion, or a 1.4-percent growth rate per year over the 1982-93 period.
Two primary factors are important to labor force changes-population and participation in the labor force. Most of the change in the labor force growth results from population growth. However, the rapid entry of women into the labor force in the past indicates that labor force participation has also been an important contributing factor to labor force growth. Such changes are expected to be much less of a factor in the future because the rate of increase in labor force participation is expected to slow for women and to decline somewhat faster for men. Participation is projected to increase for both men and women aged 55 and older. That increase results from a larger proportion of this age group being in the 55 to 64 age group with their higher participation.
This excerpt is from an article published in the November 1995 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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How accurate are recent BLS occupational projections? October 1991.
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