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February 2004, Vol. 127, No. 2
Occupational employment projections to 2012
Daniel E. Hecker
Total employment is projected to increase by 21.3 million jobs over the 2002–12 period, rising to 165.3 million, according to the latest projections of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.1 This increase represents about 600,000 more jobs than were added over the previous 10-year period (1992–2002). The projected 14.8-percent increase, however, is less than the 16.8-percent increase of the previous 10-year period. Self employment is projected to decline 2.3 percent, from 11.5 to 11.2 million.
This article discusses a number of aspects of the projections along with related information:
changes in the structure of employment at the major occupational group level;
In this article, projected employment is analyzed from two perspectives—percent change and numerical change—because one can be large and the other small, depending on the size of employment in the base year. The following example using data for two occupations generally requiring the same level of education—a bachelor’s degree—illustrates the importance of viewing job outlook from both perspectives:
Employment of environmental engineers is projected to grow twice as fast as employment of accountants and auditors over the 2002–12 period, 38.2 percent, compared with 19.5 percent. However, the accountants and auditors occupation is projected to add more than 11 times the number of new jobs (205,000 compared with 18,000), because employment was so much larger than for environmental engineers in 2002 (1,055,000 compared with 47,000).
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1 Occupational projections presented in this article provide information to those interested in labor market issues. They also provide the background for analyses of future employment opportunities described in the forthcoming 2004–05 Occupational Outlook Handbook. The Internet version of this edition of the Handbook, which will be accessible at http://www.bls.gov/oco/, is expected to be available in late February 2004; the print version of the 2004–05 Handbook, BLS Bulletin 2570, should be available in Spring 2004. Job outlook information in the 2004–05 Handbook will use the projections presented in each of the articles in this issue of the Monthly Labor Review. For a description of the methodology used to develop employment projections, see BLS Handbook of Methods, Bulletin 2490 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 1997), pp. 122–29.
2 Occupational data reflect the 2000 Standard Occupational Classification system. Base year employment data were developed using the 2002 Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, supplemented with data from the Current Population Survey for self-employed and unpaid family workers.
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