Employment Projections: 2016-26 Technical Note

Technical Note

Every 2 years, BLS publishes projections for the labor force, macroeconomy,
industry employment, and occupational employment. More information is available

   --Labor force: www.bls.gov/emp/ep_data_labor_force.htm

   --Macroeconomy: www.bls.gov/emp/ep_data_aggregate_economy.htm

   --Industry employment: www.bls.gov/emp/ep_data_industry_out_and_emp.htm

   --Occupational Employment: www.bls.gov/emp/ep_data_occupational_data.htm

The projections data provide an overview of expected changes in the economy over
a 10-year period. The projections are focused on long-term structural trends of
the economy and do not try to anticipate future business cycle activity. To meet
this objective, specific assumptions are made 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 are a description of what would be expected to happen
under these specific assumptions and circumstances. When these assumptions are not
realized, actual values will differ from projections.

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 employed people, 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 demands of business. 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 www.projectionscentral.com.

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Last Modified Date: January 30, 2018