Employment Projections Data Definitions

Employment Data Definitions

Employment. The National Employment Matrix measures total employment as a count of jobs, not a count of individual workers This concept differs from other BLS measures of employment. The Current Employment Statistics (CES) total employment measure is a count of jobs, but it only covers nonfarm payroll jobs, while the matrix includes all jobs. The Current Population Survey (CPS) total employment measure is a count of the number of individual workers. For more information, see the occupational employment section on the methodology page.

Self-employment. The National Employment Matrix only includes the unincorporated self-employed in this measure. For more information, see the occupational employment section on the methodology page.

Separations Data Definitions

Occupational openings. Occupational openings are the projected number of openings (positions) for workers entering the occupation. Defined as the sum of net occupational employment change and occupational separations. Workers who change jobs within an occupation do not generate openings since there is no net change in openings from this movement.

Occupational separations. Occupational separations are the projected number of workers permanently leaving an occupation. Defined as the sum of labor force exits and occupational transfers. In most occupations, separations result in openings for new workers to enter the occupation, but in declining occupation, not all separations result in openings.

Occupational separations rate. Occupational separations rate is the percent of workers projected to permanently leave the occupation. Defined as the sum of labor force exit rate and occupational transfer rate. The rate is presented as an annual average over the projections period.

Labor force exits. Labor force exits are the projected number of workers leaving an occupation and exiting the labor force entirely. Labor force exits are more common at older ages as workers retire, but can occur at any age. Labor force exits are not necessarily permanent exits from the labor force; for example, some workers exit the labor force to pursue additional education with the intention of returning to the labor force. They do represent permanent separations from an occupation.

Labor force exit rates. Labor force exit rates are the percent of workers projected to leave an occupation and exit the labor force. The rate is presented as an annual average over the projections period.

Occupational transfers. Occupational transfers are the projected number of workers leaving an occupation and transferring to a different occupation. Transfers represent permanent separations from an occupation, not temporary movements where the worker is expected to return to the same occupation in the future.

Occupational transfer rate. Occupational transfer rate is the percent of workers projected to leave an occupation and transfer to a different occupation. The rate is presented as an annual average over the projections period.

Education and Training Data Definitions

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) education and training classification system consists of three categories of information that BLS analysts have assigned to each detailed occupation. The categories are: 1) typical education needed for entry, 2) commonly required work experience in a related occupation, and 3) typical on-the-job training needed to obtain competency in the occupation. Each category and its related choice selections are defined below.

Typical education needed for entry. Occupations are assigned one of the following eight education levels:

  • Doctoral or professional degree. Completion of a doctoral degree (Ph.D.) or professional degree usually requires at least 3 years of full-time academic work beyond a bachelor's degree.
  • Master's degree. Completion of this degree usually requires 1 or 2 years of full-time academic study beyond a bachelor's degree.
  • Bachelor's degree. Completion of this degree generally requires at least 4 years, but not more than 5 years, of full-time academic study beyond high school.
  • Associate's degree. Completion of this degree usually requires at least 2 years but not more than 4 years of full-time academic study beyond high school.
  • Postsecondary nondegree award. These programs lead to a certificate or other award, but not a degree. The certificate is awarded by the educational institution and is the result of completing formal postsecondary schooling. Certification, issued by a professional organization or certifying body, is not included here. Some postsecondary nondegree award programs last only a few weeks, while others may last 1 to 2 years.
  • Some college, no degree. This category signifies the achievement of a high school diploma or equivalent plus the completion of one or more postsecondary courses that did not result in a degree or award.
  • High school diploma or equivalent. This category indicates the completion of high school or an equivalent program resulting in the award of a high school diploma or an equivalent, such as the General Education Development (GED) credential.
  • No formal educational credential. This category signifies that a formal credential issued by an educational institution, such as a high school diploma or postsecondary certificate, is not typically needed for entry into the occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation.  Occupations are assigned one of the following three categories:

  • 5 years or more. This is assigned to occupations if 5 or more years of work experience in a related occupation is typically needed for entry.
  • Less than 5 years. To enter occupations in this category, workers typically need less than 5 years of work experience in a related occupation.
  • None. No work experience in a related occupation is typically needed.

Typical on-the-job training needed to attain competency in the occupation. Training or preparation that is typically needed, once employed in an occupation, to attain competency in the skills needed in that occupation. Training is occupation-specific rather than job-specific; skills learned can be transferred to another job in the same occupation. Occupations are assigned one of the following six training categories:

  • Internship/residency. An internship or residency is a formal period of training during which individuals work under the supervision of experienced workers in a professional setting, such as a hospital. Internships and residencies occur after the completion of a formal postsecondary degree program and generally are required for state licensure or certification in fields including medicine, counseling, and architecture. During an internship or residency, trainees may be restricted from independently performing all of the functions of the occupation.
  • Apprenticeship. An apprenticeship is a formal relationship between a worker and sponsor that consists of a combination of on-the-job training and related occupation-specific technical instruction in which the worker learns the practical and theoretical aspects of an occupation. Apprenticeship programs are sponsored by individual employers, joint employer-and-labor groups, and employer associations. The typical apprenticeship program provides at least 144 hours of occupation-specific technical instruction and 2,000 hours of on-the-job training per year, over a 3- to 5-year period.
  • Long-term on-the-job training. More than 12 months of on-the-job training or, alternatively, combined work experience and formal classroom instruction. Also included in the long-term on-the-job training category are occupations in which workers typically need to possess a natural ability or talent—including musicians and singers, athletes, dancers, photographers, and actors—and that ability or talent must be cultivated over several years, sometimes in a nonwork setting. This category excludes apprenticeships.
  • Moderate-term on-the-job training. More than 1 month and up to 12 months of combined on-the-job experience and informal training.
  • Short-term on-the-job training. One month or less of on-the-job experience and informal training. Training is occupation-specific rather than job-specific; therefore, skills learned can be transferred to another job in the same occupation. This on-the-job training category also includes employer-sponsored training programs. Examples of occupations in the short-term on-the-job training category include retail salespersons and maids and housekeeping cleaners.
  • None. There is no additional occupation-specific training or preparation typically required to attain competency in the occupation.

Last Modified Date: September 1, 2020