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Winter 2003-04 Vol. 47, Number 4

Economic growth

Economic growth


The economy’s need for workers originates in the demand for the goods and services they provide. So, as a first step in projecting employment, BLS estimates the final demand for goods and services produced in the United States, a measure called gross domestic product (GDP). Then, BLS estimates the size of the five major categories that make up demand. The categories are the following:

  • Personal consumption expenditures. These include purchases by individuals of goods (such as automobiles, clothes, and food) and services (such as education, healthcare, and rent).
  • Gross private domestic investment. This includes business investment in equipment and software, the construction of factories and office buildings, the construction of residential structures, and changes in business inventories.
  • Government purchases. Government purchases include goods and services bought by Federal, State, and local governments.
  • Exports. These are goods and services produced in the United States and purchased in foreign countries.
  • Imports. Imports are goods and services produced abroad and purchased in the United States. Because GDP measures production in the United States, the value of imports is subtracted from the other four categories of GDP.

Finally, BLS breaks down these major categories into more detailed ones, such as the demand for clothing.

Most charts in this section show changes in the level and composition of demand. These changes affect industry employment levels. For example, an increased level of business investment in microcomputers will increase employment in the computer industry and in all those industries, such as electronic components, that provide inputs to the computer industry. In turn, occupations that those industries employ also will grow.

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U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Last Updated: June 10, 2004