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Effects of the pandemic on projected employment in selected industries, 2019–29

| February 2021

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For nearly a year, the COVID–19 pandemic has altered the employment landscape. Which industries might continue to see its impact over the coming decade?

The chart answers that question with data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). These data show the potential effects of the pandemic on employment through 2029, with each bar in the chart representing the difference between an industry’s baseline (pre-pandemic) and alternate (pandemic-related) rates of employment change.

View Chart Data

Chart. Selected industries affected by the pandemic

Difference between baseline and alternate percent changes in employment, projected 2019–29 [1]

Industry

Difference between baseline and alternate projections

Baseline percent change

Moderate impact percent change

Computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing

16% 3 19

Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing

14 5 19

Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences

4 4 8

Computer systems design and related services

3 26 29

Residential building construction

1 4 5

Transit and ground passenger transportation

-2 5 3

Air transportation

-3 6 3

Traveler accommodation

-4 0 -4

Food services and drinking places

-6 7 1

Nonresidential building construction

-6 4 -2

[1] These alternate projections assume that the pandemic will have a moderate impact on employment over the 2019–29 decade. BLS has another set of projections that assume that the pandemic will have a strong impact.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections.

BLS developed alternate projections scenarios to analyze how pandemic-related circumstances are expected to affect long-term employment. These alternate projections assume that the pandemic creates structural changes to the future job market in some industries. As data in the chart suggest, for example, the continued need for medical treatments and vaccines may spur demand for workers in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing, while a greater prevalence of telework may negatively affect employment in office building construction.

The data in the chart are based on the moderate-impact scenario. The alternate sets of projections are not intended as precise estimates of employment change over the 2019–29 decade; instead, they identify industries in which employment is subject to the most pandemic-related uncertainty.

More information about the alternate projections, including the scenario that assumes a strong impact, is available from the Employment Projections program.

About the Author

Elka Torpey is an economist in the Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, BLS. She can be reached at torpey.elka@bls.gov .

Suggested citation:

Elka Torpey, "Effects of the pandemic on projected employment in selected industries, 2019–29," Career Outlook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, February 2021.

Telephone: 1-202-691-5700 www.bls.gov/careeroutlook Contact Career Outlook

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