Occupational Outlook Handbook - Job Statistics


Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2004-05 Edition

occupational outlook,occupational outlook handbook
U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Bulletin 2540


Occupational Outlook - Tomorrow's Jobs
Making informed career decisions requires reliable information about opportunities in the future. Opportunities result from the relationships between the population, labor force, and the demand for goods and services.

Population ultimately limits the size of the labor force—individuals working or looking for work—which constrains how much can be produced. Demand for various goods and services determines employment in the industries providing them. Occupational employment opportunities, in turn, result from demand for skills needed within specific industries. Opportunities for medical assistants and other health care occupations, for example, have surged in response to rapid growth in demand for health services.
Examining the past and projecting changes in these relationships is the foundation of the Occupational Outlook Program. This chapter presents highlights of Bureau of Labor Statistics projections of the labor force and occupational and industry employment that can help guide your career plans.

Population (from the Occupational Outlook Handbook)
Population trends affect employment opportunities in a number of ways. Changes in population influence the demand for goods and services. For example, a growing and aging population has increased the demand for health services. Equally important, population changes produce corresponding changes in the size and demographic composition of the labor force.

The U.S. population is expected to increase by 24 million over the 2002-12 period, at a slower rate of growth than during both the 1992-2002 and 1982-92 periods. Continued growth will mean more consumers of goods and services, spurring demand for workers in a wide range of occupations and industries. The effects of population growth on various occupations will differ. The differences are partially accounted for by the age distribution of the future population.

The youth population aged 16 to 24, will grow 7 percent over the 2002-12 period. As the baby boomers continue to age, the group aged 55 to 64 will increase by 43.6 percent or 11.5 million persons, more than any other group. Those aged 35 to 44 will decrease in size, reflecting the birth dearth following the baby boom generation.

Minorities and immigrants will constitute a larger share of the U.S. population in 2012. The number of Hispanics is projected to continue to grow much faster than those of all other racial and ethnic groups.

Population is the single most important factor in determining the size and composition of the labor force—that is, people who are either working or looking for work. The civilian labor force is projected to increase by 17.4 million, or 12 percent, to 162.3 million over the 2002-12 period.

The U.S. workforce will become more diverse by 2012. White, non-Hispanic persons will continue to make up a decreasing share of the labor force, falling from 71.3 percent in 2002 to 65.5 percent in 2012. However, despite relatively slow growth, white, non-Hispanics will remain the largest group in the labor force in 2012. Hispanics are projected to account for an increasing share of the labor force by 2012, growing from 12.4 to 14.7 percent. By 2012, Hispanics will constitute a larger proportion of the labor force than will blacks, whose share will grow from 11.4 percent to 12.2 percent. Asians will continue to be the fastest growing of the four labor force groups.

The numbers of men and women in the labor force will grow, but the number of women will grow at a faster rate than the number of men. The male labor force is projected to grow by 10 percent from 2002 to 2012, compared with 14.3 percent for women. As a result, men’s share of the labor force is expected to decrease from 53.5 to 52.5 percent, while women’s share is expected to increase from 46.5 to 47.5 percent.

The youth labor force, aged 16 to 24, is expected to slightly decrease its share of the labor force to 15 percent by 2012. The primary working age group, between 25 and 54 years old, is projected to decline from 70.2 percent of the labor force in 2002 to 65.9 percent by 2012. Workers 55 and older, on the other hand, are projected to increase from 14.3 percent to 19.1 percent of the labor force between 2002 and 2012, due to the aging of the baby-boom generation.

Total employment is expected to increase from 144 million in 2002 to 165 million in 2012, or by 14.8 percent. The 21 million jobs that will be added by 2012 will not be evenly distributed across major industrial and occupational groups. Changes in consumer demand, technology, and many other factors will contribute to the continually changing employment structure in the U.S. economy.

The following two sections examine projected employment change from both industrial and occupational perspectives. The industrial profile is discussed in terms of primary wage and salary employment. Primary employment excludes secondary jobs for those who hold multiple jobs. The exception is employment in agriculture, which includes self-employed and unpaid family workers in addition to wage and salary workers.

The occupational profile is viewed in terms of total employment—including primary and secondary jobs for wage and salary, self-employed, and unpaid family workers. Of the nearly 144 million jobs in the U.S. economy in 2002, wage and salary workers accounted for 132 million; self-employed workers accounted for 11.5 million; and unpaid family workers accounted for about 140,000. Secondary employment accounted for 1.7 million jobs. Self-employed workers held 9 out of 10 secondary jobs; wage and salary workers held most of the remainder.


Occupational Outlook - page two - Click here to read about the Service Industry and how it will be impacted.

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