Article

December 2015

Occupational employment projections to 2024

Overall employment in the U.S. economy is projected to increase 6.5 percent during the 2014–24 decade, adding about 9.8 million new jobs. The most new jobs added and fastest job growth will occur in healthcare practitioners and technical occupations and healthcare support occupations. Projected changes to demographics as the population ages will drive the expected growth in the healthcare occupational groups. Production occupations and farming, fishing, and forestry occupations are the only major occupational groups projected to decline.

U.S. employment is projected to increase 6.5 percent during the 2014–24 decade, from 150.5 million jobs in 2014 to 160.3 million jobs in 2024. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Employment Projections program releases projections for 819 detailed occupations. Employment in 602 occupations is projected to increase, while employment in 217 occupations is projected to decline.

Healthcare support occupations and healthcare practitioners and technical occupations are projected to be the two fastest growing occupational groups, adding a combined 2.3 million jobs, about 1 in 4 new jobs. Figure 1 shows the share of total employment for these two groups in 2014 and projected 2024. The combined share of employment for these two groups is projected to increase from 8.3 percent of all jobs in 2014 to 9.2 percent of all jobs in 2024.

 

Only two major occupational groups are projected to see employment decline: production occupations and farming, fishing, and forestry occupations. Together, these two groups are projected to shed 339,300 jobs during the projection period.

BLS produces long-term occupational projections to provide career guidance for jobseekers, students, and current workers looking at changing occupations. In addition, policymakers and educational authorities use BLS employment projections for long-term policy planning. Individual states also derive their own state and local-area projections from the national employment projections.

This article provides a comprehensive overview of the occupational projections for 2014–24. It details the projections process and methodology and examines the projected changes to major occupational groups, with summary analysis behind each projection. In addition, it highlights the detailed occupations that are growing the fastest, adding the most jobs, declining most rapidly, or losing the most jobs.

More detailed analysis and descriptions of occupational projections can be found in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, a BLS career-guidance publication.1 In addition to describing why particular occupations are expected to grow or decline, the Handbook includes job descriptions, duties, median pay, and guidance on how to enter an occupation.

This article references projected growth rates through the use of a standard set of “growth adjectives.” These growth adjectives allow users to compare growth rates among different occupations. The growth adjectives used are as follows:

·        Much faster than average: 13.5 percent or higher

·        Faster than average: at least 8.5 percent but less than 13.5 percent

·        As fast as average: at least 4.5 percent but less than 8.5 percent

·        Slower than average: at least 1.5 percent but less than 4.5 percent

Notes

1 The Occupational Outlook Handbook is available at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/.

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About the Author

Andrew Hogan
hogan.andrew@bls.gov

Andrew Hogan is an economist in the Division of Occupational Employment Projections, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Brian Roberts
roberts.brian@bls.gov

Brian Roberts is an economist in the Division of Occupational Employment Projections, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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