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Employment Projections

Occupational Projections Evaluation: 2012–2022

The main factor affecting occupational growth rates is the growth rate of the industries in which they are employed. But over time, industries also change the mix of occupations used to create their output. Occupational projections incorporate changes to both those factors. For more information, refer to the evaluation methodology.

Measuring Accuracy

How often did BLS correctly project growth and decline for occupational groups?

BLS correctly projected whether an occupational group would grow or decline 77 percent of the time.

What did BLS project as the average growth rate from 2012 to 2022?

The projected average growth rate for occupations from 2012 to 2022 was 10.8 percent.

What was the actual average growth rate?

The actual average growth rate for occupations from 2012 to 2022 was 13.2 percent.

What contributed to the difference?

The actual growth rate was faster than projected because the labor force grew faster than projected and the unemployment rate in 2022 was lower than projected.

Did BLS project which occupational groups would grow relatively faster?

BLS correctly projected which occupational groups would grow faster than the economy as a whole 67 percent of the time.

A standard for comparison

An important way to evaluate any projection is to compare it against other, similar projections. This is not possible for occupational projections because there are no comparable projections which are not in some way derived from BLS projections. When no comparable projection exists another way of evaluating is to compare against a naïve model. The occupational evaluation uses the occupational–share naïve model.

Different aspects of projections

Occupational projections were evaluated for:

  • Projections of major occupational groups (See Table 1 and Table 3).

  • Projections of detailed occupations (See Table 2).

  • Projections of occupations combined based on the level of education, experience, and training BLS assigned in 2012 (See Table 4).

These evaluations show how well BLS projected groups of related occupations. Each was compared to the occupational–share naïve model by summing the absolute differences from the actual result.

Table 1. Major occupational groups, combined scorecard
Measure BLS Naïve Best performer

Sum of absolute differences

8.7 10.1 BLS

Count of better score

14 8 BLS


Table 2. Detailed occupations, combined scorecard
Measure BLS Naïve Best performer

Sum of absolute differences

17.1 17.8 BLS

Count of better score

432 316 BLS


Table 3. Major occupational groups, sum of absolute differences
Occupational group BLS Naïve Best performer


1.57 1.39 Occupational-Share Naïve

Business and financial

0.90 0.97 BLS

Computer and mathematical

0.28 0.45 BLS

Architecture and engineering

0.05 0.11 BLS

Life, physical, and social science

0.04 0.05 BLS

Community and social services

0.06 0.15 BLS


0.01 0.02 BLS

Education, training, and library

0.59 0.58 Occupational-Share Naïve

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

0.15 0.09 Occupational-Share Naïve

Healthcare practitioners and technical

0.21 0.31 BLS

Healthcare support

0.38 0.14 Occupational-Share Naïve

Protective service

0.06 0.12 BLS

Food preparation and serving related

0.12 0.22 BLS

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

0.51 0.45 Occupational-Share Naïve

Personal care and service

0.43 0.37 Occupational-Share Naïve

Sales and related

1.26 1.59 BLS

Office and administrative support

1.13 1.58 BLS

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.04 0.05 BLS

Construction and extraction

0.15 0.24 BLS

Installation, maintenance, and repair

0.08 0.05 Occupational-Share Naïve


0.06 0.60 BLS

Transportation and material moving

0.65 0.53 Occupational-Share Naïve


Table 4. Education, experience, and training, sum of absolute differences
Education, experience, and training classification BLS Naïve Best performer


Less than high school diploma

4.19 4.44 BLS

High school diploma or equivalent

6.54 6.92 BLS

Some college, no degree

0.11 0.17 BLS

Postsecondary non-degree award

1.16 1.05 Occupational-Share Naïve

Associate's degree

0.33 0.34 BLS

Bachelor's degree

4.07 4.15 BLS

Master's degree

0.36 0.41 BLS

Doctoral or professional degree

0.32 0.33 BLS

Work experience in a related occupation

No related work experience

13.89 14.40 BLS

Less than 5 years

2.31 2.50 BLS

5 years or more

0.88 0.91 BLS

Typical on-the-job training

No on-the-job training

6.08 6.28 BLS

Short-term on-the-job training

7.30 7.49 BLS

Moderate-term on-the-job training

2.40 2.72 BLS

Long-term on-the-job training

0.50 0.57 BLS


0.21 0.18 Occupational-Share Naïve


0.58 0.58 Occupational-Share Naïve

Note: Ties are broken using unrounded data

Issues evaluating occupational projections

The Employment Projections program relies on various data sources. Changes in methodology and classifications in these programs and surveys result in challenges with evaluating occupational projections at a detailed level.

Return to Projections Evaluation Homepage


Last Modified Date: January 19, 2024