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New BLS Data: Employment Projections, 2010-2020


Industries and occupations related to health care, personal care and
social assistance, and construction are projected to have the fastest
job growth between 2010 and 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
reported today. Total employment is projected to grow by 14.3 percent
over the decade, resulting in 20.5 million new jobs. Despite rapid
projected growth, construction is not expected to regain all of the
jobs lost during the 2007-09 recession.

The 2010-20 projections incorporate a new BLS system that depicts
education, training, and related work experience typically needed for
occupations. In occupations in which a master’s degree is typically
needed for entry, employment is expected to grow by 21.7 percent, faster
than the growth rate for any other education category. In occupations in
which apprenticeship is the typical on-the-job training, employment is
expected to grow by 22.5 percent, faster than for any other on-the-job
training category.

This news release focuses on five areas: labor force and the macroeconomy,
industry employment, occupational employment, education and training, and
replacement needs.

Labor force and the macroeconomy

  -- Slower population growth and a decreasing overall labor force
     participation rate are expected to lead to slower civilian labor force
     growth from 2010 to 2020: 0.7 percent annually, compared with 0.8
     percent for 2000-10, and 1.3 percent for 1990-2000. The projected 0.7
     percent growth rate will lead to a civilian labor force increase of
     10.5 million by 2020. (See table 1.)
  -- The baby-boom generation moves entirely into the 55-years-and-older 
     age group by 2020, increasing that age group’s share of the labor force
     from 19.5 percent in 2010 to 25.2 percent in 2020. The "prime-age" working
     group (ages 25 to 54) is projected to drop to 63.7 percent of the 2020
     labor force. The 16- to 24-year-old age group is projected to account for
     11.2 percent of the labor force in 2020. (See table 1.)
  -- By 2020, the number of Hispanics in the labor force is projected
     to grow by 7.7 million, or 34.0 percent, and their share of the labor
     force is expected to increase from 14.8 percent in 2010 to 18.6
     percent in 2020. The labor force shares for Asians and blacks are
     projected to be 5.7 and 12.0 percent, respectively, up slightly from
     4.7 and 11.6 percent in 2010. (See table 1.)
  -- Gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to grow by 3.0 percent
     annually, consistent with slow labor force growth, the assumption of a
     full-employment economy in 2020, and labor productivity growth of 2.0 
     percent annually.

Industry employment

  -- Nonagriculture wage and salary employment, which accounts for
     more than 9 in 10 jobs in the economy, is projected to expand to
     150.2 million by 2020, up from 130.4 million in 2010. (See table 2.)
  -- The health care and social assistance sector is projected to gain
     the most jobs (5.6 million), followed by professional and business
     services (3.8 million), and construction (1.8 million). Despite rapid
     growth in the construction sector, employment in 2020 is not expected
     to reach its pre-recessionary annual average peak of 7.7 million in 2006.
     (See table 2.)
  -- About 5.0 million new jobs--25 percent of all new jobs--are
     expected in the three detailed industries projected to add the most
     jobs: construction, retail trade, and offices of health practitioners.
     Seven of the 20 industries gaining the most jobs are in the health
     care and social assistance sector, and five are in the professional
     and business services sector. (See table 3.)
  -- The 20 detailed industries projected to lose the largest numbers
     of jobs are primarily in the manufacturing sector (11 industries) and
     the federal government (3 industries). The largest job losses are
     projected for the Postal Service (-182,000), federal non-defense
     government (-122,000), and apparel knitting mills (-92,000).
     (See table 4.)

Occupational employment

  -- Of the 22 major occupational groups, employment in healthcare
     support occupations is expected to grow most rapidly (34.5 percent),
     followed by personal care and services occupations (26.8 percent), and
     healthcare practitioners and technical occupations (25.9 percent).
     However, the office and administrative support occupations group, with
     projected slower than average growth of 10.3 percent, is expected to
     add the largest number of new jobs (2.3 million). (See table 5.)
  -- The four detailed occupations expected to add the most employment
     are registered nurses (712,000), retail salespersons (707,000), home
     health aides (706,000), and personal care aides (607,000). All have large
     employment in 2010 and are expected to grow faster than the average of
     14.3 percent. (See table 6.)
  -- One-third of the projected fastest growing occupations are
     related to health care, reflecting expected increases in demand as the
     population ages and the health care and social assistance industry
     grows. (See table 7.)
  -- More than one-fourth of the projected fastest growing occupations
     are related to construction. Employment in most of these occupations,
     still at low levels in 2010 because of the 2007-09 recession, will
     recover along with the construction industry. But employment in most
     construction occupations is not expected to reach pre-recession
     levels. (See table 7.)
  -- Production occupations and office and administrative support
     occupations dominate the list of detailed occupations with the largest
     projected employment declines. However, farmers, ranchers, and other
     agricultural managers top the list, with a projected loss of 96,100
     jobs. (See table 8.)

Education and training

  -- Occupations that typically need some type of postsecondary
     education for entry are projected to grow the fastest during the
     2010-20 decade. Occupations classified as needing a master’s degree
     are projected to grow by 21.7 percent, followed by doctoral or
     professional degree occupations at 19.9 percent, and associate’s
     degree occupations at 18.0 percent. (See table 9.)
  -- In terms of typical on-the-job training, occupations that
     typically require apprenticeships are projected to grow the fastest
     (22.5 percent). (See table 9.)
  -- Of the 30 detailed occupations projected to have the fastest
     employment growth, 17 typically need some type of postsecondary
     education for entry into the occupation. (See table 7.)
  -- Two-thirds of the 30 occupations projected to have the largest
     number of new jobs typically require less than a postsecondary
     education, no related work experience, and short- or moderate-term on-
     the-job training. (See table 6.)
  -- Only 3 of the 30 detailed occupations projected to have the
     largest employment declines are classified as needing postsecondary
     education for entry. (See table 8.)

Replacement needs

  -- Over the 2010-20 decade, 54.8 million total job openings are expected.
     (See table 9.) While growth will lead to many openings, more than 
     half--61.6 percent--will come from the need to replace workers who
     retire or otherwise permanently leave an occupation.
  -- In 4 out of 5 occupations, openings due to replacement needs exceed
     the number due to growth. Replacement needs are expected in every
     occupation, even in those that are declining.
  -- More than two-thirds of all job openings are expected to be in
     occupations that typically do not need postsecondary education for
     entry. (See table 9.)
  -- Eighteen of the 30 occupations with the largest number of
     projected total job openings are classified as typically needing less
     than a postsecondary education and needing short-term on-the-job
     training. (See table 10.)
Interpreting the projections in light of the 2007-09 recession and recovery

The BLS projections are built on the assumption of a full employment
economy in 2020. The 2007-09 recession represented a sharp downturn in
the economy--and the economy, especially the labor market, has been
slow to recover. As a result, the 2010-20 projections reach a robust
2020 target year largely because the 2010 base year began from a
relatively low point. Rapid growth rates for some measures reflect
recovery from the recession and, with some important exceptions,
growth beyond recovery.

A note about labor shortages and surpluses in the context of long-term 
economic projections

Users of these data should not assume that the difference between the
projected increase in the labor force and the projected increase in
employment implies 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 degree of frictional unemployment.
In addition, the employment and labor force measures use different
concepts. Employment is a count of jobs, and one person may hold more
than one job. Labor force is a count of people, and a person is
counted only once regardless of how many jobs he or she holds. For a
discussion of the basic projections methodology, see "Overview of
projections to 2020," Dixie Sommers and James C. Franklin, January
2012 issue of the Monthly Labor Review.

More information

The BLS projections are used by high school students and their
teachers and parents, college students, career changers, and career
development and guidance specialists. The projections are the
foundation of the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook, the nation’s most
widely used career information resource. 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 and education and training officials to make decisions
about education and training policy, funding, and program offerings.
In addition, other federal agencies, researchers, and academics use
the projections to understand trends in the economy and labor market.
The projections are updated every two years.

More detailed information on the 2010-20 projections appears in five
articles in the January 2012 issue of the Monthly Labor Review,
published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.
The Monthly Labor Review is available online at

The 2012-13 edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook will feature
the 2010-20 projections in assessing job outlook, work activities,
wages, education and training requirements, and more for detailed 
occupations in 341 profiles. The updated Handbook will be available
online in late March 2012, at www.bls.gov/ooh. A graphic representation
of the highlights of the projections appears in the Winter 2011-12 
issue of the Occupational Outlook Quarterly, available online at

Tables with detailed, comprehensive statistics used in preparing the
projections are available online at www.bls.gov/emp/tables.htm, and
projections methodology are accessible at

Information from this release will be made available to sensory
impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200;
Federal Relay Services: 1 (800) 877-8339.

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