The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) employment 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 employment projections are the foundation of the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), one of the nation’s most widely used career information resources. 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. Projections of jobs in demand help improve the alignment between education and training and the hiring needs of business. In addition, other federal agencies, researchers, and academics use the projections to understand trends in the economy and labor market. The current OOH is available online at https://www.bls.gov/ooh.
Career Outlook articles provide data and information on a variety of topics—including occupations and industries, pay and benefits, and more. These articles are helpful for students, career counselors, jobseekers, and others making career decisions. Career Outlook is available online at https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/.
Career Outlook has four departments:
The Monthly Labor Review (MLR) publishes an article overviewing each new set of projections as they are released. MLR also publishes a variety of employment projection topics of a more technical nature than those featured in Career Outlook. A list of the most recent projections articles can be found at https://www.bls.gov/emp/publications.htm.
The BLS projection process does not end at publication. BLS is constantly working to improve the accuracy of the projections. To ensure that projections are reliable and of the highest quality, BLS retrospectively evaluates them when comparable data are available. Projections of the labor force, industry employment, and occupational employment are evaluated using metrics that provide measures of accuracy, such as dissimilarity indexes, mean absolute percent error, and naïve models. These metrics were developed from a review of methods used by BLS and other agencies in evaluating projections.
Evaluations benefit both BLS and external users. Identifying sources of errors helps BLS improve the models used in developing the projections, and publishing the results allows users to gauge the accuracy of statements about future economic conditions, industry activity, and employment growth. The most recent evaluation articles can be found at https://www.bls.gov/emp/evaluations/projections-evaluations.htm.
Houthakker, H.S., and Lester D. Taylor. Consumer Demand in the United States: Analyses and Projections (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1970).
Miller, Ronald E., and Peter D. Blair. Input-Output Analysis: Foundations and Extensions (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1985).
Stekler, H.O., and Rupin Thomas. “Evaluating BLS labor force, employment, and occupation projections for 2000,” Monthly Labor Review, July 2005, pp. 46–56. https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2005/07/art5full.pdf.
Toossi, Mitra. “A behavioral model for projecting the labor force participation rate,” Monthly Labor Review May 2011, pp. 25–42. https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2011/05/art3full.pdf.
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Concepts and Methods of the U.S. National Income and Product Accounts, October 2009, chapters 1–5. https://docplayer.net/342506-Concepts-and-methods-of-the-u-s-national-income-and-product-accounts.html.
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Concepts and Methods of the U.S. Input-Output Accounts, September 2006; updated April 2009. https://www.bea.gov/papers/pdf/IOmanual_092906.pdf.