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Career prospects in selected industries.

Whether choosing a career or searching for a job, it is helpful to know about the distinctive mix of occupations in industries in States or communities and the jobs associated with each. The Career Guide to Industries, the latest addition to the Bureau of Labor Statistics array of vocational guidance publications, examines employment opportunities in 40 industries which accounted for almost two-thirds of all wage and salary jobs in 1990. The Guide provides a detailed discussion, along with current statistics, covering the nature of the industry, and its employment and occupations, working conditions, required training and advancement potential, earnings and benefits, and outlook for future job openings.

Nature of the industry. The types of occupations in each industry depend on the types of services or goods the industry produces. For example, manufacturing companies use machinery and other industrial equipment to make goods and, hence, need workers to operate the equipment. Typical manufacturing occupations include assemblers, inspectors, machine setters, and material movers. Retail trade, on the other hand, displays manufactured goods for consumers to buy and needs workers such as salesclerks, cashiers, and stock clerks.

In 1990, there were more than 6 million business establishments in the United States--an increase of more than 26 percent since 1981. Some industries characteristically have small establishments employing few workers, and others have mainly large firms employing many workers. The size of an establishment is important to employees. Large establishments offer greater occupational mobility and advancement potential, whereas small firms offer more interpersonal contact among workers. Also, many small establishments are distributed throughout the Nation---every locality has a few--while large establishments are usually located in certain areas.

Although U.S. establishments are predominantly small (5 8 percent of them employed fewer than five workers in 1990), medium to large firms employ a greater proportion of all workers. For example, establishments with 50 or more workers accounted for only 5 percent of all establishments, yet they employed almost 61 percent of all workers. One industry division, manufacturing, included 9 of the 12 industries having the highest employment per establishment in 1990. The majority of small establishments belong to the retail trade and service industries.

Some industries are concentrated in certain regions of the country, for example, oil and gas extraction (in Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma) or metal mining (in Nevada, Arizona, and Minnesota). In these and in many other regionally concentrated industries, the establishments locate near a source of raw materials upon which they rely. Other industries, such as grocery stores, appear throughout the country.

Employment. Wage and salary worker employment in the United States surpassed 112 million in 1990, and by 2005 it is projected to exceed 135 million. The accompanying table shows how employment divides up among the various industries and predicts how employment in each industry will change from 1990 to 2005. Industries employing the most workers usually have the greatest number of job openings, but sometimes an extraordinary number of young workers within an industry causes an exceptionally large number of openings because younger workers tend to be less settled into jobs and careers and thus more likely to move on to other jobs. Working conditions. In some industries, the workplace can be quiet, temperature-controlled, and virtually hazard free. In others, the work environment can be noisy, uncomfortably hot or cold, and sometimes very dangerous. Some industries require long workweeks and shift work; others have standard 35- to 40hour workweeks. Jobs in still other industries can be seasonal, requiring long hours during busy periods and abbreviated schedules during slower months. The Guide describes the workweeks, work schedules, injury and illness rates, and working conditions that prevail in each industry.

Occupations in the industry. This section briefly profiles the occupations most commonly found in particular industries. Some occupations are concentrated in one or a few industries. For instance, more than 5 out of 6 cashiers work in retail trade industries; other occupations, such as general manager or secretary, are found in all industries. Some industries, such as government, employ workers in many occupations, but others, such as agriculture, have many workers concentrated in only a few occupations. Growth of occupations depends on growth of the various industries in which they are concentrated.

Training and advancement. The occupational composition of an industry greatly affects the education or training that its workers need. Production occupations in manufacturing industries, for example, generally require little formal education after high school but sometimes do require considerable on-the-job or vocational training. On the other hand, many workers in the health services industry have extensive formal education or specialized training.

Earnings and benefits. Earnings range widely by industry. Average weekly earnings for all jobs were $1,240 in securities and commodities brokerage firms but only $160 a week in eating and drinking places in 1990. Many factors affect earnings in the various industries: Types of jobs, average hours worked, region of the country in which industries are concentrated, rural versus urban 10| cations, benefit packages, union affiliation, and educational requirements.

Wages are generally highest in the Northeast and in urban areas. Workers employed in metropolitan areas are usually paid more to compensate for the higher cost of living in cities. Benefits usually depend on the occupational group, full- or part-time status, region, unionization, and size of the establishment.

Outlook. Total employment in the United States is projected to increase about 20 percent over the 1990-2005 period. Growth rates will vary widely among industries. Despite rising demand, employment in the mining industries is expected to decline, due mainly to the spread of new labor-saving technology. Opportunities for employment in these industries are expected to be few. Construction industry employment is expected to increase somewhat more slowly than the economy in general, reflecting slowing population growth, which will contribute to a slowdown in new home construction. Infrastructure improvements, such as road and bridge construction, should create some additional construction jobs, somewhat offsetting. the lagging residential construction.

Employment in manufacturing industries will continue drifting downward as improvements in production technology eliminate jobs in production occupations. Apparel manufacturing and food processing are both expected to experience the largest declines in employment, together losing more than 300,000 jobs by 2005. Some manufacturing industries with strong domestic markets and export potential, however, should experience increases in employment as overseas demand increases output. Drug manufacturing, miscellaneous plastics products, and printing and publishing are three manufacturing industries expected to add jobs over the 1990-2005 period.

Trucking and air transportation are expected to add 686,000 jobs over the projection period. Trucking industry growth will be fueled mainly by growth in the volume of goods shipped as the economy expands. The air transportation industry will expand because of increases in tourism, vacation and business travel, and personal income levels, and because the share of goods shipped by air will continue to increase.

Employment in the telephone communications industry will decline due to labor-saving technology and increased competition. More than 200,000 jobs are expected to be lost in this industry from 1990 to 2005. Broadcasting industry employment is expected to increase slowly with population, as more households subscribe to cable television. Once the cable television market becomes saturated, however, growth in that industry will be much slower than the economy in general.

Wholesale trade is anticipated to add 1 million jobs as increases in exports and imports stimulate growth in the industry. Retail trade industries are expected to add 5.1 million jobs over the 1990-2005 period. This increase in employment will result largely from population growth and increased personal income levels. Eating and drinking places will account for 42 percent of the employment growth in retail trade.

Finance and insurance industries are expected to add more than 800,000 jobs by 2005. Nondepository institutions-- such as personal credit institutions, mortgage banks, and brokerages and holding and investment offices--are anticipated to grow rapidly. Insurance carriers and agents will likely add 460,000 jobs even though computer technology will continue to reduce the demand for some clerical positions. The securities and commodities industry is expected to add more than 100,000 jobs--many of them high paying.

One out of every three new jobs created in the economy over the 1990-2005 period will be in the various service industries. The health, social, and legal services industries are all expected to grow at least twice as fast as the economy in general. The aging of the population will likely stimulate growth in health and social services, and growth of legal services employment is anticipated to accompany growth in the population and the economy.

The rise in the school-age population will spur an increase in governmental spending on education, contributing to an increase of about 2.3 million jobs in the educational services industry. Most of the growth in State and local government will derive from growth in the population and its demand for public services. Federal Government employment, excluding the Postal Service, is expected to decrease slightly by 2005.

COPIES of Career Guide to Industries GPO Stock No. 029-001-03127-1 are available through New Orders, Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 37194, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954; or from the BLS Publications Sales Center, P.O. Box 2145, Chicago, IL 60690-2145.
COPYRIGHT 1993 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Apr 1, 1993
Words:1527
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