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June 1996, Vol. 119, No. 6
We are a Nation of spenders. U.S. consumers are spending more than ever on a variety of goods and services ranging from automobiles and VCR's to hospital care and legal advice. In the process of making these purchases, consumers are creating jobs. In 1993, nearly two-thirds of all jobs in the U.S. economy were dependent, either directly or indirectly, on consumer expenditures, making consumers responsible for more than 79 million jobs that year. The dominant influence of consumers on the job market is not expected to diminish - they are projected to continue generating nearly two-thirds of all U.S. jobs, translating to more than 92 million consumption-related jobs expected for the year 2005.
This article examines domestic employment that is dependent on consumer spending.1 The consumption-related jobs of the 1977-93 period are compared with those expected for the 1994-2005 period,2 using the most recent economic and employment projections developed biennially by the Office of Employment Projections.3 The number and types of jobs dependent on consumption were estimated using an input-output model approach that enables one to trace the purchase of a good or service through the entire production chain. With this approach, the employment required in each industry, including the industries that supply inputs to the production process of a good or service, can be determined. In addition, an industry-occupation matrix was used to determine the occupations affected by consumer spending. (See the appendix for a full description of data and methods.)
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1 Imports are excluded from this analysis. See appendix for more information.
2 The projections cover the 1994-2005 period. This study uses the year 1993 rather than 1994 in analyzing consumer spending and the related employment because it is the latest year for which the detailed data needed for this study was available.
3 For more information on the assumptions and methodology used to develop these projections, see "Appendix: Employment projections methodology," Monthly Labor Review, November 1995, pp. 85-87; and "Employment Outlook: 1994-2005, Job Quality and Other Aspects of Projected Employment Growth" Bulletin 2472 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1995).
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