Article

December 2013

Occupational employment projections to 2022

Total employment in the U.S. economy is projected to grow by 15.6 million during the 2012–2022 decade to reach 161 million; this represents a 10.8-percent employment increase. Some of the fastest projected growth will occur in the healthcare, healthcare support, construction, and personal care fields. Together, these four occupational groups are expected to account for about one-third—more than 5.3 million—of all new jobs during this period.

Total employment in the U.S. economy is projected to grow to 161 million, or 10.8 percent, over the 2012–2022 decade and add 15.6 million jobs to the 2012 employment level of 145.4 million. Of the 818 occupations for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) produces and publishes projections data, 667 are projected to add jobs and 151 are expected to decline in employment during the 2012–2022 period. Some of the fastest projected growth will occur in the healthcare, healthcare support, construction, and personal care fields. Together, these four occupational groups are expected to account for more than 5.3 million new jobs by 2022, about one-third of the total employment growth.

Occupational projections provide information on how changes in demographics, technology, consumer preferences, and other factors are expected to affect the future labor force. Job seekers and career counselors use this information to see where the strongest or weakest growth is expected to be over the coming decade. Policymakers use the projections for long-term policy planning, and states use the data to prepare state and area projections.

In addition to projecting growth, BLS projects the number of job openings that will stem from the need to replace workers who change occupations or leave the labor force and tracks the typical level of education that is needed for entry-level positions in each occupation. Together, projected growth, replacement needs, and education category assigned by BLS provide data users with a more complete picture of trends in the labor market.

This article provides a broad overview of the 2012–2022 occupational projections. The first section summarizes the data and how the projections are made. Subsequent sections provide more detail of the projections, including information about drivers of occupational growth and decline, employment by education, and growth or decline within each of 22 major occupational groups. The article also discusses the occupations that are projected to grow the fastest, add the most new jobs, decline most rapidly, and lose the most jobs.

Additional information about occupations may be found in the Occupational Outlook Handbook.1 The Handbook contains 334 occupational profiles with information on typical job duties, work environment, education, training, licensure requirements, median pay, and the job outlook.

Projections process and data sources

Occupational projections are the final step in the BLS projections process. The projections process begins with high-level labor force and macroeconomic projections, makes use of an input–output framework to convert final demand into industry output, and ends with detailed projections that are released for 818 detailed occupations in 329 detailed industries.2 The Employment Projections program’s methodology page includes a detailed recounting of the entire process, including the final occupational-projections step.3

Current projections data cover the decade from 2012 to 2022. The 2012 data are derived from BLS surveys. Industry employment comes from the Current Employment Statistics survey and the Current Population Survey. Industry employment is allocated among occupations on the basis of distributions from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey.4

Notes

1 The Occupational Outlook Handbook is available at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/.

2 For projections by detailed occupation, see http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_table_108.htm.

3 For employment projections methodology details, see http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_projections_methods.htm.

4 For more information on the Occupational Employment Statistics program, see http://www.bls.gov/oes/.

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About the Author

Emily Richards
Richards.Emily@bls.gov

Emily Richards is an economist in the Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Dave Terkanian
Terkanian.David@bls.gov

Dave Terkanian is an economist in the Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.