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May 1999, Vol. 122, No. 5
Occupational Outlook Handbook: a review of 50 years of change Michael J. Pilot
In a September 1, 1948, letter of transmittal to Secretary of Labor Maurice J. Tobin, Commissioner of Labor Statistics Ewan Clague announced that an Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) was "being made available through public sale."1 The first of 23 editions was published in 1949. (See table 1.)
The 1949 edition updated and expanded information issued in August 1946 in Veterans Administration Manual M7-1, titled Occupational Outlook Information. The manual was prepared at the request, and with the financial support, of the Veterans Administration, which, under the provisions of the 1944 G.I. bill of rights, was authorized to make available information concerning the Nations needs for general education and trained personnel in the various trades, crafts, and professions.2
Prepared in the BLS Occupational Outlook Branch (currently called the Division of Occupational Outlook), the OOH relied on the continued financial support of the Veterans Administration through a second revision in 1951. Four years later, Congress provided for a program of regular reappraisal of the employment outlook and for up-to-date maintenance of the Handbook and related publications. This action funded the 1957 third edition of the OOH and subsequent biennial revisions, as well as a new periodical, the Occupational Outlook Quarterly, which would provide a "flow of up-to-date information between editions of the Handbook." The Bureau of Labor Statistics produced subsequent editions of the OOH in 1959, 1961, 196364, and, biennially, in even-numbered years starting with 1966 and on up to the current 199899 edition. (See table 1.)
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1 Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bulletin 940 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1949), p. ii.
2 For additional information, see Harold Goldstein, “The early history of the Occupational Outlook Handbook,” this issue, pp. 3–7.
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