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Economic News Release
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Employment Projections and Occupational Outlook Handbook News Release

For release 10:00 a.m. (ET) Thursday, September 8, 2022 		     USDL-22-1805

Technical information:   (202) 691-5700  *  *
Media contact: 	         (202) 691-5902  *

                         EMPLOYMENT PROJECTIONS -- 2021-2031

The U.S. economy is projected to add 8.3 million jobs from 2021 to 2031, the U.S. Bureau
of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported today. Total employment is projected to increase from
158.1 million to 166.5 million and grow 0.5 percent annually, which is slower than the
1.0 percent annual growth recorded over the 2011-21 decade.

The 2021-31 projections use 2021 annual average employment levels as the base year. The
2021 annual average levels do not reflect much of the employment recovery and
reallocation that has already occurred in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the
accompanying recession, given total employment continued to grow rapidly through the 
first half of 2022. As a result, total employment for the 2021-31 projections, and 
projected growth in many sectors, reflects fast projected growth resulting from low base
year employment levels. However, the pandemic also has been a catalyst for some 
structural changes in demand for certain goods and services, which are expected to affect
long-term demand for employment in a select group of industries and occupations. 

|											|
|			      Occupational Outlook Handbook     			|
|											|
| The BLS projections are the foundation of the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), 	|
| one of the nation's most widely used career information resources. The OOH reflects 	|
| BLS employment projections for the 202131 decade. The updated OOH is available 	|
| online at								|

|											|
|	       Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the 202131 projections      	|
|											|
| The COVID-19 pandemic prompted an economic recession from February 2020 to April 	|
| 2020, leading to substantial declines in output and employment. While the recession 	|
| only lasted a few months, the pandemic persisted through 2021, continuing to disrupt  |
| economic activity, prevent or discourage individuals from re-entering the labor 	|
| force, and impact other economic conditions that affect employment. The economy 	|
| rebounded in 2021, regaining approximately 4.6 million jobs; however, this equates to |
| only about half of the jobs that were lost from 2019 to 2020. As a result, the 2021 	|
| annual average employment level, which forms the baseline for the 202131 		|
| projections, remained well below pre-pandemic levels. Employment in a majority of 	|
| sectors continued to recover through the first half of 2022, and the 202131 		|
| projections do not reflect the employment recovery and reallocation that occurred 	|
| during that time period.								|
|											|
| Some industries that have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic   |
| have lower base-year values and are expected to experience cyclical recoveries in the |
| early part of the 202131 decade, as industry output and employment normalize and 	|
| return to their long-term growth trends, leading to higher projected employment 	|
| growth. (See the Technical Note for discussion of the difference between cyclical and |
| structural changes.) Projected rapid growth for industries in which employment fell 	|
| in 2020 and remained low in 2021 also is expected to result in strong growth for the  |
| occupations employed by those industries. For instance, many movie theaters were not  |
| operating at full capacity in 2021, resulting in a lower employment level in the 	|
| motion picture and video exhibition industry in 2021 than in pre-pandemic recent 	|
| history. This industry is projected to grow 70.5 percent over the 202131 decade, on 	|
| account of a cyclical recovery in employment rather than a long-term structural 	|
| increase in demand for motion picture and video exhibition. In turn, motion picture 	|
| projectionists; and ushers, lobby attendants, and ticket takers--occupations highly 	|
| concentrated in the industry--are also expected to experience strong cyclical growth.	|
|											|
| In addition, some industries and occupations are projected to have altered long-term  |
| structural demand arising from economic changes spurred by the pandemic. For example, |
| many computer occupations are expected to have elevated long-term demand, in part due |
| to increased business demand for telework computing infrastructure and information 	|
| technology (IT) security. 								|
|											|
| Data users should therefore bear in mind that fast growth rates in this projections 	|
| set can be cyclically driven, structurally driven (in the long term), or driven by a  |
| combination of cyclical and structural factors. 					|

The leisure and hospitality sector is projected to experience the fastest employment 
growth of all sectors, owing mostly to the low base point in 2021. The healthcare and 
social assistance sector is projected to create the most jobs over the 2021-31 decade, 
growing in tandem with the segment of the population that is aged 65 and over. This 
should, in turn, boost demand for various healthcare occupations, especially those 
involved in caring for the elderly and those expected to benefit from the increased 
prevalence of team-based healthcare. 

Total projected employment growth is conditional upon expected growth of the economy and
of the labor force, both of which can be influenced by changes in the population. Real 
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is projected to grow at a 2.1 percent annual rate from 2021 
to 2031, slightly faster than in the prior decade. Growth of the civilian 
noninstitutional population is projected to slow to an annual rate of 0.7 percent, while 
the labor force is projected to grow at a 0.5 percent annual rate, about the same pace as
that of the 2011-21 decade.

Highlights of the BLS 202131 projections for the labor force, macroeconomy, industry
employment, and occupational employment are included below.

Population and Labor Force

 --The civilian noninstitutional population is projected to increase by 19.6 million to
   a level of 281.0 million in 2031, which is less than the 21.8 million increase that
   occurred over the 201121 decade. The civilian noninstitutional population is expected
   to grow 0.7 percent annually over the 2021-31 decade, slowing from the 0.9 percent
   annual growth rate registered in the decade from 2011 to 2021. While population growth
   has been slowing for several decades, the projected 0.7 percent annual growth 
   represents one of the slowest growth rates in the data series' history. 

 --The expected slowdown in population growth over the 2021-31 decade is primarily 
   attributed to lower fertility rates in recent decades compared with rates seen in the 
   1960s and early 1970s, as well as to reduced net international migration in the last 
   two decades in comparison to that of preceding decades.

 --Slower projected growth in the population is expected to constrain growth in the 
   civilian labor force over the projections period. The civilian labor force is expected
   to rise to 168.9 million in 2031 from 161.2 million in 2021, a 7.7 million increase.
   This translates to projected annual growth of 0.5 percent, the same rate as that of 
   the 2011-21 decade but slower than rates in years prior to 2011.

 --The labor force participation rate is projected to fall from 61.7 percent in 2021 to 
   60.1 percent in 2031. An aging population, represented by a greater share of 
   individuals over the age of 65, is the principal factor driving the decline in the 
   labor force participation rate over the 2021-31 decade. 

 --At the same time, the participation rates of the 55-to-64 and 65-plus age groups are 
   projected to climb higher over the projections decade as older workers increasingly 
   stay in the workforce. 


 --Real GDP is projected to grow 2.1 percent annually over the 2021-31 decade. This is 
   slightly higher than the two previous decades' respective annual rates of 2.0 percent
   and 1.8 percent, but much lower than the 3.0 percent and above rates seen in the 
   1980s and 1990s.  

 --Labor productivity growth is projected to accelerate to 2.2 percent annually--within
   its long-term historic range. This is up significantly from 1.3 percent annual 
   productivity growth in the prior decade.

Industry Employment

 --Total employment is projected to grow 0.5 percent annually from 158.1 million in 2021
   to 166.5 million in 2031. Employment grew at a 1.0 percent annual rate from 201121. 

 --The healthcare and social assistance sector is projected to add about 2.6 million 
   jobs from 2021 to 2031, the most of any sector. Within this sector, the individual 
   and family services industry is projected to add the most employment over the 
   projections period--approximately 850,000 jobs--and is expected to have the fastest 
   annual employment growth of all healthcare and social assistance industries at 2.8 
   percent. Employment growth in this industry, as well as other healthcare and social 
   assistance industries, is expected to be driven by the aging baby-boom population and
   a higher prevalence of chronic conditions.

 --Employment in several sectors remained hampered in 2021 by surges in COVID-19 cases, 
   public concern about viral transmission, mitigation measures, and by employment 
   reallocation, resulting in low base year employment for the 202131 projections. 
   These sectors, including leisure and hospitality, and other services--which include 
   repair and maintenance services and personal care services--are projected to be among
   the fastest growing over the 202131 decade. 

 --Nearly three quarters of the jobs lost in leisure and hospitality during the COVID-19
   pandemic in 2020 had yet to be recovered in 2021. Consequently, leisure and 
   hospitality is projected to grow the fastest among all sectors over the 202131 
   decade at an annual rate of 1.3 percent, reflecting cyclical recovery. Seven of the 
   top 20 fastest growing industries are in the leisure and hospitality sector. In 
   addition, the food services and drinking places industry is expected to have the 
   largest employment increase of any industry, adding about 1.3 million jobs over 

 --Demand for professional and business services is expected to increase over the 
   projections period, driven by businesses' need for technical expertise in areas such 
   as IT solutions and cybersecurity, management, marketing research, and other 
   consulting and technical services. This sector is projected to see the third-largest 
   employment increase over the 202131 decade.

 --Retail trade is projected to lose the most jobs of any sector over 202131. Brick-
   and-mortar retail establishments are expected to continue to contend with fiercer 
   competition from online retailing.

Occupational Employment

 --Healthcare support occupations are projected to grow the fastest of all occupational
   groups, at 17.8 percent from 2021-31. Projected fast-growing occupations in this 
   group include physical therapist assistants, home health and personal care aides, 
   and occupational therapy assistants. In addition to its projected rapid growth, home
   health and personal care aides is also projected to experience the largest increase 
   in new jobs of any occupation over the 2021-31 projections period. It is projected 
   to gain approximately 924,000 jobs, reaching an employment level of 4.6 million in 
   2031, which would make it the largest occupation in the economy. Demand for 
   caregiving services and therapy services is expected to rise rapidly in response to
   the growing elderly population, which typically has elevated healthcare needs 
   compared to younger groups. 

 --The computer and mathematical occupational group is projected to experience much 
   faster than average employment growth of 15.4 percent through 2031. Expected strong 
   demand for IT services, including cybersecurity services and cloud computing, will 
   fuel demand for computer occupations. For mathematical occupations, expected robust 
   growth in data--in part related to Internet of Things (IoT) and the connectivity of 
   consumer products and industrial machinery--and demand for data to be collected and 
   analyzed are main factors behind strong projected employment growth. Three computer 
   and mathematical occupations are featured among the ten fastest growing occupations:
   data scientists, information security analysts, and statisticians. In addition, 
   software developers are expected to see the third-largest increase in jobs of any 
   occupation over the 2021-31 decade.

 --Personal care and service occupations and food preparation and serving related 
   occupations are projected to be the third and fourth fastest growing occupational 
   groups, respectively. Many of these occupations were highly affected by the COVID-19 
   pandemic in 2020 and continued to be impacted in 2021. Consequently, occupations 
   within these groups, such as restaurant cooks, are expected to experience strong 
   cyclical growth. 

 --Some employment lost during the pandemic and projected to be recovered over the 
   projections decade has already been recuperated, as employment grew rapidly 
   throughout the first half of 2022. As a result, some occupational groups have fast
   projected growth that reflects short-term recovery rather than long-term expected 
   gains, such as the food preparation and serving related occupational group, which had
   already realized a notable share of its projected 2021-31 employment change by 

 --Three occupational groups--office and administrative support occupations, production
   occupations, and sales and related occupations--are projected to lose jobs over the 
   202131 decade. Sixteen of the 20 occupations with the largest declines in employment
   levels over 202131 are classified in one of these three groups. The automation of 
   tasks is a main factor behind the projected employment declines of many of these 
   occupations. Cashiers, whose tasks can largely be replaced by self-checkout, is 
   projected to lose the most jobs of all occupations, while word processors and typists
   is projected to experience the sharpest drop in employment over the projections 

 --Nurse practitioners is projected to experience the fastest employment growth of all 
   occupations, with projected growth of 45.7 percent. Healthcare facilities are 
   increasingly using team-based healthcare models, which utilize nurse practitioners, 
   physician assistants, and other healthcare practitioners to provide patient care that
   would otherwise be provided by a doctor. 

More Information

The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) includes information about more than 500 
detailed occupations in over 300 occupational profiles, covering about 4 out of 5 jobs 
in the economy. Each profile features the 202131 projections, along with assessments of
the job outlook, work activities, wages, education and training requirements, and more.

 --The OOH is available online at

 --Field of degree pages are available online at 

 --Detailed information on the 202131 projections will appear in the Monthly Labor 
   Review in Fall 2022.

 --Tables with detailed, comprehensive statistics used in preparing the projections are
   available online at

 --Definitions for terms used in this news release are available in the BLS Glossary at 

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to
access telecommunications relay services.

Technical Note

BLS publishes projections for the labor force, the macroeconomy, industry employment, 
and occupational employment. More information is available online:

 --Labor force:


 --Industry employment: 

 --Occupational employment: 

The projections data provide an overview of expected changes in the economy over a
decade. The projections focus on long-term structural trends of the economy and do
not try to anticipate future business cycle activity. Cyclical change refers to 
short-term business cycle fluctuations around a trend. For example, employment may
decline in a particular industry during a recession (cyclical decline) and grow 
during the recovery immediately following the recession (cyclical growth), eventually
returning to the long-term trend level. Structural change refers to the long-term
trend and in the case of employment reflects changes in the allocation of employment
by industry and occupation. Structural changes in industry or occupational employment
are based on factors such as changes in consumer preferences that affect the demand
for goods and services or new technology that affects production practices.

To maintain a focus on long-term trends, BLS makes specific assumptions about the 
labor force, macroeconomy, industry employment, and occupational employment. Critical
to the production of these projections is the assumption of full employment for the
economy in the projected year. The projections are not intended to be a forecast of
what the future will be but instead to describe what is expected under these 
specific assumptions and circumstances. When these assumptions are not realized,
actual values will differ from projected values.

The difference between projected changes in the labor force and in employment does 
not necessarily imply a labor shortage or surplus. The BLS projections assume labor
market equilibrium; that is, one in which labor supply meets labor demand except for
some level of frictional unemployment. In addition, the employment and labor force
measures use different definitional and statistical concepts. For example, 
employment is a count of jobs, and one person may hold more than one job. Labor 
force is a count of all individuals who are either employed or unemployed and 
actively looking for work, and a person is counted only once regardless of how many
jobs he or she holds.

For more information, visit the Employment Projections Methodology page online at

Frequently asked questions about the employment projections are online at

Users and Uses

The BLS projections are used by high school and college students, their teachers
and parents, jobseekers, career counselors, and guidance specialists to determine
jobs in demand. The projections also are used by state workforce agencies to
prepare state and area projections that, together with the national projections, 
are widely used by policymakers to make decisions about education and training, 
funding allocations, and program offerings. These projections of jobs in demand help
improve the alignment between education and training and the hiring needs of 
employers. In addition, other federal agencies, researchers, and academics use the
projections to understand trends in the economy and labor market. 

Projections of industry and occupational employment are prepared by each state, 
using input from the BLS national projections. State projections data are 
available at Projections Central

Last Modified Date: September 08, 2022