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Occupational employment: wide variations in growth.

The economy is expected to continue generating jobs for workers at all levels of education and training; service workers are projected to be the largest group, while professional specialty is expected to be the most rapidly growing group

Total employment is projected to increase from 121.1 million in 1992 to 147.5 million in 2005 according to the moderate alternative projection of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The projected 22-percent rate of employment growth is slightly higher than the increase attained during the previous 13-year period, from 1979 to 1992. By contrast, employment growth was much faster during the 1966-79 period when the babyboomers were entering the labor force.

Projected growth from 1992 to 2005 will vary widely among the individual occupations, ranging from an increase of 138 percent to a decline of 75 percent.t In general, occupations that require a bachelor' s degree or other post-secondary education or training are projected to have faster-thanaverage rates of employment growth. Also, many occupations requiring less formal education or training also are projected to have above average growth. In addition to the growth rate, the size of the occupational stock of jobs is an important factor in determining the numerical growth in the occupation; therefore, it has a great effect on the structure of future employment. Many slower growing occupations, some requiring little education and training and others having significant educational requirements, are expected to add significant numbers of jobs primarily because of their large employment bases. As a result, the economy is projected to continue to generate jobs for workers at all levels of education and training.

Most of the employment growth will occur in service-producing industries. As a consequence, occupations concentrated in those industries are more likely to experience rapid employment growth, compared with occupations in the goodsproducing industries. Of the 26.4 million projected increase in total employment over the 1992-2005 period, more than 25 million jobs are projected in the service-producing industries and fewer than 1 million jobs are expected in the goods-producing industries.

This article discusses projected changes in the structure of occupational employment over the 1992-2005 period. It includes analyses of the impact of various factors on occupational employment, particularly industry employment trends and expected changes in the occupational structure of industries. Data are presented to show how much each factor contributes to the overall projected employment change for each major occupational group. The article also discusses the total number of job openings that are expected to occur during the 1992-2005 period because of growth in the economy and the need to replace workers who leave the labor force or transfer to other occupations. Finally, the article discusses the effect of projected employment restructuring on average educational requirements and on average earnings, by occupation. Of the three sets of occupational projections developed by m.s, this article focuses on the moderate alternative which is tied to the moderate economic and industry employment projections alternative presented in the articles by Norman Saunders pages 11-30, and James C. Franklin pages 41-57. The major occupational differences among the three alternatives are discussed at the end of the article.

Major occupational groups

Among the major occupational groups, employment in professional specialty occupations, technicians and related support occupations, and service occupations is projected to increase fastest. (See table 1.) Executive, administrative, and managerial occupations also are projected to have faster-than-average employment growth, and the number of jobs for marketing and salesworkers is expected to grow about as fast as total employment. Employment in all other major occupational groups is expected to increase, but at a slower rate than total employment growth.

Although total employment is expected to grow at a rate very similar to that of the previous 1979-92 period, several of the major occupational groups are expected to depart from their historical growth rates. For example, factors that caused a decline in employment for agricultural, forestry, fishing, and related workers and for operators, fabricators, and laborers over the 1979-92 period are expected to be mitigated. Consequently, employment for these occupations are expected to increase slowly rather than continue to decline. The decline in manufacturing employment from its peak in 1979 is projected to be slower through 2005 and, therefore, employment for operators, fabricators, and laborers, which is concentrated in manufacturing, is not expected to decline as it did over the 1979-92 period, despite the continuing effect of technological change on these occupations. Also, the selection of 1979, a year of high manufacturing employment, and 1992, a year when the economy had not recovered from the 1990-91 recession, gives a somewhat false impression of the trend in manufacturing employment (as is discussed in detail in the article by James Franklin).

As a result of the differences in growth rates among the major occupational groups, the structure of employment will change during the 19922005 period. Four groups are expected to change theft employment shares by more than 1 percentage point: professional specialty occupations, +1.8; service occupations, +1.5; administrative support occupations, including clerical,-1.3; and operators, fabricators, and laborers, -1.4. As a result of these changes, service workers are projected to move from second to first place as the largest employment group in 2005, followed by administrative support workers. The most rapidly growing group, professional specialty workers, is expected to remain the third largest occupational group as it was in 1992. (The effects of these changes on the overall occupational structure of employment, on average educational attainment, and on average earnings is discussed later in this article.)

The number of executive, administrative, and managerial workers is projected to increase 3.1 million from 1992 to 2005, or 26 percent. This rate of growth is considerably slower than it was over the 1979-92 period when the occupational group grew by about 50 percent. While managers had the second fastest growth rate in the earlier period, they are expected to have only the fourth fastest growth rate by 2005. Part of the reason for the expected slowdown is the trend toward job restructuring. One way that firms have accomplished this goal is by giving lowerlevel employees a say in the management process and, consequently, reducing the employment of middle managers. Although employment in many different fields may be affected by job restructuring, the use of middle managers in the future is expected to be reduced to a greater extent, compared with many other occupations. This is especially true in manufacturing where employment in some detailed managerial occupations is projected to decline by as much as 18 percent from 1992 to 2005. In industries outside of manufacturing, the overall occupational category, executive, administrative, and managerial workers is expected to grow substantially. The services industry division is expected to account for nearly half of the total growth in jobs for managers, with very large gains registered in engineering and management services and in business services.2 Other industries with significant projected employment increases for managers are wholesale and retail trade and finance, insurance, and real estate. It is also significant that self-employed executive, administrative, and managerial workers are projected to increase by 37 percent and account for about a sixth (521,000) of the 3.1 million growth in the occupational group.

Employment in professional specialty occupations is projected to grow by 6.2 million--the second largest increase after service occupations. In addition, this 37-percent rate of growth is the fastest among the major occupational groups. The share of total employment represented by professional workers is projected to increase from 13.7 to 15.5 percent. The number of workers in this occupational category also grew faster than the average for all employees during the previous 1979-92 period. The employment of professional employees is expected to increase in all major industrial sectors in the economy. Even in manufacturing, which is projected to decline by 518,000 workers by 2005, employment of professional workers is expected to increase by 230,000 jobs; mainly for computer systems analysts, engineers, and scientists. Despite the widespread growth of the professional specialty occupations, most of the increase in employment for these workers is expected in the services industry division, led by educational services (1.7 million jobs) and health services (1.3 million jobs). Other industries that are expected to contribute significantly to the growth of professional workers are social services; business services; and engineering and management services; as well as Federal, State, and local government.

Employment of technicians and related support workers is projected to grow by 1.4 million, or by 32 percent. In the previous 1979-92 period, technicians experienced the fastest rate of growth of any major occupational group. Of the total increase in jobs for technicians by 2005, nearly 8 out of 10 are expected in the services industries. Within services, about half of the jobs for technicians (615,000) are expected in the large and rapidly growing health services industry. Other industries that are also expected to have large growth in the number of technicians by 2005 are engineering and management services and business services.

Employment in marketing and sales occupations is projected to increase by 2.7 million workers from 1992 to 2005. The projected rate of growth of 21 percent is about the same as for the economy as a whole, but it is slower than the growth over the 1979-92 period, during which employment in the marketing and sales occupational category grew faster than average. Part of the reason for this change from the earlier period is a slower projected rate of growth in total employment for wholesale and retail trade which employs the majority of marketing employees and salesworkers. This slowing of employment growth in wholesale trade is based partly on the expectation that manufacturers will increasingly distribute their products directly to retailers as they take advantage of reductions in the cost of shipping goods, particularly small loads, as well as the increased use of computerized inventory and warehouse management systems. Employment growth of marketing and salesworkers also is expected in the services industry division and in finance, insurance, and real estate.

The number of workers in administrative support occupations, including clerical, is projected to grow by 14 percent, slower than the average for all occupations. However, because of the large number of such workers, this group will increase by 3.1 million, the third largest numerical increase after service workers and professionals. However, the share of total employment represented by administrative support occupations is expected to decline from 18.5 percent to 17.2 percent. A wide range of employment increases and decreases is expected among the detailed occupations in this group--from an increase of 57 percent to a decline of 60 percent.

Many occupations are expected to be affected by continued technological change and further developments in office automation. Among those that are projected to decline are telephone operators; typists and word processors; and postal service clerks. Occupations that involve a great deal of contact with people, and therefore are not affected significantly by expected changes in technology, are projected to have average or higher-than-average rates of growth. Among these occupations are hotel desk clerks; receptionists and information clerks; and teacher aides and educational assistants. About 80 percent of the job growth for administrative support occupations is expected in the service industry division, led by business services (643,000 jobs); health services (550,000 jobs); and educational services (519,000 jobs). Significant growth of about 401,000 jobs also is expected in wholesale and retail trade and 390,000 jobs are expected in finance, insurance, and real estate. A combined decrease of more than 248,000 jobs is estimated for manufacturing, communications and utilities, and for government.

Employment in service occupations is projected to increase by 6.5 million jobs the largest gain for a major occupational group. While this group grew faster than the average for all occupations in the 1979-92 period, the 33-percent projected growth rate through 2005 is significantly higher than the earlier rate of growth. Overall, service occupations are expected to increase as a share of total employment from 16.0 percent to 17.5 percent. More than half of the jobs projected for this group are in the very rapidly growing services industry division, led by health services (1.4 million jobs); social services (682,000 jobs); and business services (658,000 jobs). In addition, retail trade, with large numbers of food preparation and service workers, is projected to add another 2 million jobs for service occupations, and State and local governments, with substantial numbers of law enforcement occupations, are projected to contribute a combined total of 404,000 more service worker jobs.

Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and related occupations are projected to increase by just 120,000, the smallest increase for any major occupational group. The 3 percent projected rate of growth, however, reverses the decline in employment of about 5 percent that occurred between 1979 and 1992. Nevertheless, the proportion of workers in this group are expected to fall from a 2.9-percent share of total employment in 1992 to 2.5 percent by 2005. Within this major group, jobs for farmers are expected to decline by 231,000. Offsetting this loss is the projected increase of 311,000 jobs for gardeners and groundskeepers, except farm, who are largely employed in the rapidly growing segment of agricultural services that provides gardening and lawn services.

Employment in precision production, craft, and repair occupations is projected to increase by 1.8 million jobs and grow at a rate of 13 percent from 1992 to 2005. The group's share of total employment, however, is still projected to decline from 11.2 percent to 10.4 percent. During the previous 1979-92 period, employment for this group of workers grew by just 4 percent. Most of the job growth within the major occupational group is expected among construction trades workers and mechanics, installers, and repairers. From an industry perspective, the services division is expected to provide 666,000 of the total increase in projected jobs; construction---686,000 jobs; and wholesale trade--131,000 jobs. Clearly, some of the increases in construction represent jobs lost in the recent recession. Significant job declines are expected in manufacturing (-156,000); communications and utilities (-84,000); and mining (-33,000).

The number of operators, fabricators, and laborers is expected to increase by 1.6 million workers, or by 10 percent, from 1992 to 2005. In the previous 13-year period, this group of workers declined by 10 percent. Part of the reason for the expected reversal in trend is that 1979 was a peak year for total manufacturing employment, and from that year to 1992, when the 1990-91 recession effect was still present, nearly 3 million manufacturing jobs were lost. In contrast, total manufacturing employment is projected to decline by 518,000 through 2005. The projected decline of 454,000 jobs for operators, fabricators, and laborers in manufacturing is expected to be more than offset by the gains in services (889,000 jobs); transportation (389,000 jobs); wholesale and retail trade (403,000 jobs); and construction (252,000 jobs). Nevertheless, operators fabricators, and laborers are projected to decline significantly as a share of total employment from 13.5 percent in 1992 to 12.1 percent in 2005.

Derailed occupations

The Bureau has developed projections for more than 500 derailed occupations. The growth rates range from an increase of 138 percent for home health aides to a decline of 75 percent for frame wirers, central office, a much wider range, compared with that among the major occupational groups discussed in the previous section. (See table 2.) In the following discussion, employment change is analyzed from two perspectives, the projected rate of change and the size of the numerical change in employment among the occupations. In addition to numerical change, employment size of an occupation is a major factor in the number of future job openings because of the need to replace workers who leave the labor force or transfer to other occupations.

Fastest growing occupations. Most of the occupations with the fastest projected employment growth are concentrated in one or more of the rapidly growing industries. A large number of the 30 occupations with the fastest projected growth rates are concentrated in the health services sector which is expected to increase about twice as fast as the economy as a whole.(3) (See tabl e 3.) Many human services workers, who are classified in the derailed occupation with the second fastest projected growth rate, are employed in health services, social services, and State and local governments. These employees hold professional and paraprofessional jobs in facilities and programs that serve the elderly, the mentally impaired, and the developmentally disabled. Employment in two other rapidly growing occupations--home health aides and personal and home care aides--is concentrated in the home health care services and individual and miscellaneous social services industries. Home health aides are expected to be in great demand to provide personal and physical care for an increasing number of elderly people and for patients who are recovering from surgery and other serious health conditions. Personal and home care aides perform a variety of light housekeeping tasks for those in need of home care. Other occupations in the health field that are projected to grow rapidly include physical and corrective therapy assistants and aides; medical assistants; physical therapists; medical records technicians; occupational therapists; radiologic technologists and technicians; respiratory therapists; and speech-language pathologists and audiologists.

Robust growth is projected in some computerrelated occupations attributable to the continuing spread of computer technology. Employment in the computer engineers and scientists and systems analysts occupations is expected to grow rapidly to satisfy expanding needs for scientific research and applications of computer technology in business and industry. Increasing use of operations research to improve productivity and reduce costs is expected to increase the demand for operations research analysts.

Other occupations that are expected to grow rapidly are travel agents and flight attendants. These occupations are expected to benefit from continued projected increases in personal and business travel. Paralegals are expected to be in great demand in legal and related fields attributable to efforts to provide more cost effective legal services to the public. Jobs for correction officers are projected to increase quickly in response to the need to supervise and counsel a rapidly expanding inmate population. More child care workers are expected by 2005 as a result of anticipated growth in the number of young children and a change in the type of child care arrangements parents choose, that is, from an informal arrangement with family or friends to formal institutional child care. Finally, projected increases in student enrollments at the preschool and elementary school levels are expected to result in high rates of growth for preschool and kindergarten teachers and special education teachers.

Occupations with the largest job growth. Several of the detailed occupations with the largest numerical job growth (see table 4) are concentrated in three industries that are expected to provide nearly half of the total growth in wage and salary jobs from 1992 to 2005--retail trade, health services, and educational services. The occupation that is expected to have the second largest increase overall is registered nurses (765,000 jobs). Other health-related occupations with large projected numerical increases are nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants (594,000 jobs); licensed practical nurses (261,000 jobs); and home health aides (479,000 jobs). The latter occupation is also among the fastest growing occupations.

Within retail trade, the eating and drinking places industry, a very large and continually growing category, is expected to provide numerous additional jobs in many occupations, including waiters and waitresses (637,000 jobs); food preparation workers (524,000 jobs); food counter, fountain, and related workers (308,000 jobs); cooks, restaurant (276,000 jobs); and cooks, short order and fast food (257,000 jobs). Other occupations in retail trade with large increases are cashiers; salespersons, retail; and marketing and salesworker supervisors.

A projected increase in student enrollments of 14 percent from 1992 to 2005 is expected to spur the employment of teachers in elementary schools by 311,000 and in secondary schools by 462,000. The trend toward greater use of teacher aides and educational assistants is expected to continue through 2005 and result in an increase of 381,000 additional jobs for these workers in elementary and secondary schools.

The remaining occupations listed in table 4 are found in a wide variety of industries throughout the economy and their growth, as a consequence, is dependent upon many factors. As mentioned in the previous section, employment for systems analysts is expected to grow with the continued spread of computer technology. Jobs for receptionists and information clerks are projected to increase significantly because such workers interact a great deal with people and their duties are difficult to automate. General office clerks are expected to continue to replace other administrative support workers, including clerical workers who have a limited number of functions. Other very large and slower growing occupations that are expected to provide numerous additional jobs are general managers and top executives; truckdrivers, light and heavy; janitors and cleaners; marketing and salesworkers supervisors; and guards.

An interesting comparison exists between the total increase in employment from those occupations that are projected as the fastest growing (table 3) and the increase from those projected to account for the largest numerical increase (table 4). The first group accounts for 17 percent of the projected overall growth in employment, while the second group accounts for almost 50 percent (several occupations are included in both of the groups). These statistics illustrate why both the numerical change and the rate of change should be considered when analyzing occupational employment projections.

Declining occupations. Projected declines in industry employment and changes in occupational staffing patterns are expected to reduce the demand for workers in some occupations over the 1992-2005 period. (See table 5.) This section focuses on those occupations with the largest job declines rather than on those with the fastest rates of decline. Many detailed occupations in the latter category are very small and, consequently, the resulting employment declines are not very significant.

Industry employment change is the major cause of projected employment declines for farmers; textile draw-out and winding machine operators and tenders; electrical and electronic equipment assemblers, precision; electrical and electronic assemblers; and two occupations in the private household industry-cleaners and servants and child care workers. Declining occupations that are expected to be affected almost equally by industry employment changes and by occupational structure changes include farmworkers; central office and PBX installers and repairers; central office operators; station installers and repairers; and directory assistance operators.

Most of the other declining occupations are affected more by occupational structure changes than by industry employment changes. The large decline in employment for bartenders in the eating and drinking places industry is attributable to the projected decline in the consumption of alcoholic beverages outside of the home. Overall, the employment of bartenders is projected to decline by 32,000 jobs. The use of typists and word processing is expected to decrease significantly in most industries because of productivity improvements resulting from office automation and the increased use of word processing equipment by professional and managerial employees. Job losses for these workers are expected to be very substantial 125,000 jobs. The demand for computer operators, except peripheral equipment is expected to fall due to an expected decrease in the use of mainframe computers relative to personal computers. Employment for bank tellers is expected to decline because of increased use of automated teller machines, terminals, and other electronic equipment for customer fund transactions.

Several occupations in manufacturing are expected to decline because of technological advances, organizational changes, and other factors that affect the use of workers. For example, the installation of computer-controlled technology, including advanced systems that combine production tasks and link machines, will reduce the demand for machine forming operators and tenders, metal and plastic and for machine tool cutting operators and tenders, metal and plastic. Similarly, welding machine setters, operators, and tenders are expected to be affected by the further diffusion of robotics technology.

Self-employed workers

The number of self-employed workers is projected to increase from 10.0 million in 1992 to 11.5 million in 2005, or by 15 percent. (See table 6.) This rate of growth is somewhat slower than the projected increase of 23 percent for wage and salary workers. Among the detailed occupations with 50,000 employees or more, however, there is a great deal of variation in the projected rates of growth for self-employed workers, and in some occupations, the growth rate greatly exceeds the rate of increase projected for wage and salary workers.

From 1992 to 2005, executive, administrative, and managerial occupations are expected to account for more than one-third of the increase in self-employed workers 521,000 jobs of 1.5 million. As in the recent past, employment growth of self-employed managers is expected to be faster than that for their wage and salary counterparts. Many individuals will continue to start up and manage their own businesses, whereas employment growth of wage and salary managers will be negatively affected by job restructuring as described earlier.

The next largest increase in self-employment (466,000 jobs) is expected in service occupations. Numerous additional opportunities (238,000) are expected for self-employed child care workers as more and more families turn away from at-home child care to institutional care. Other occupations with projected increases in self-employed workers include janitors and cleaners, including maids and housekeeping cleaners (83,000) and hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists (90,000).

Other groups that will provide opportunities for self-employment are professional specialty occupations (27 1,000) and precision production, craft, and repair occupations (233,000). Both of these groups have a large number of detailed occupations in which the proportion of self-employed workers to all workers is significantly high.

Occupations in the marketing and sales fields had the most self-employed workers in 1992, 1.8 million, but are projected to increase by only 100,000 workers, or 6 percent, from 1992 to 2005. Self-employed workers in this occupational group are expected to grow more slowly than their wage and salary counterparts in medium-sized and large establishments in industries that employ these workers. However, in many sales occupations, including real estate agents and insurance agents, the self-employed will still account for a sizable portion of total employment in 2005.

While the number of self-employed technicians and related support workers is projected to grow rapidly (34 percent), the low employment base of 98,000jobs in 1992 is expected to yield growth of only 33,000 jobs from 1992 to 2005. Two other major occupational groups are also expected to have little increase in self-employment through 2005 administrative support occupations, including clerical and operators, fabricators, and laborers.

Within the major group, agriculture, forestry, fishing, and related occupations, the number of self-employed farmers is projected to continue the descending trend, falling by about 231,000, attributable to a reduction in the number of smaller farms. The one occupation in this major group which is expected to experience significant growth in the number of self-employed workers is gardeners and groundskeepers (76,000).

Factors underlying changes

The projected changes in occupational employment can be attributed statistically to projected shifts in industry employment and to projected changes in the occupational structure of industries. Industry employment shifts result from changes in interindustry purchases and in the structure of final demand, such as reductions in defense expenditures and increases in exports. These, in turn, are influenced by technological change, product development, and relative prices. Occupational structure changes reflect such things as organizational changes and job restincturing. These changes in the use of workers by occupation within an industry result primarily from technological change.

The method of determining how much of the projected employment change is attributable to industry change and how much to changes in the occupational structure of industries incorporates a three-step procedure using the industry-occupational employment matrix. In the first step, the actual projected change in employment by occupation was computed by subtracting the 1992 employment for an individual occupation from the 2005 projected employment for the same occupation. This calculation represents the total employment change for the occupation caused by both the industry employment changes and by the projected occupational staffing pattern changes.

In the second step, the occupational staffing pattern distribution of industries shown in the 1992 matrix was multiplied by the 2005 projected industry employment totals. The resulting employment totals indicate the employment that would occur if the projected changes in industry employment were the only factor affecting projected occupational employment. The 1992 occupational employment was then subtracted from the 2005 occupational employment level resulting from this step. This subtraction yielded the amount of occupational employment changes attributable to industry change.

In the final step, the employment change for an occupation calculated in step two was subtracted from the total employment change for each occupation obtained in step one. The resulting total represents the occupational employment change attributable to occupational structure change and the interaction of occupational structure change and industry employment change.

Table 7 shows the amount of projected employment change over the 1992-2005 period, aggregated to the major occupational group level, that is attributable to projected changes in industry employment and to projected changes in the occupational structure of industries. Most of the change shown for the occupational groups is attributable to projected changes in industry employment. It is especially noteworthy that almost all of the estimated employment change for service occupations is attributable to industry change and relatively little is due to occupational structure change. Two occupational groups, however, administrative support workers, including clerical and professional specialty occupations have significant employment change attributable to expected changes in occupational structure. Furthermore, as discussed earlier, changes in occupational structure can have significant effects on employment in detailed occupations. The proportion of the total change attributable to structure changes for a detailed occupation can vary considerably from the average structure change at the major occupational group level. For example, occupational structure changes account for less than 10 percent of the total change in employment for technicians and related support occupations. However, for paralegals, one of the detailed occupations in this group, more than half of the employment growth is attributable to structure changes which reflect increasing employment of these workers as a useful costeffective part of the legal services team.

Replacements and job openings

In addition to occupational employment growth, another aspect of the demand for workers is the need to replace workers who leave their jobs to enter other occupations, retire, or leave the labor force for other reasons. Job openings resulting from replacement needs are very important because in most occupations, they exceed those resulting from employment growth. Even occupations that are projected to decline provide some job openings. (See table 8.)

The measurement of replacement needs is very complex because there is a continuous movement of workers into and out of occupations. The measure used in this article is based on the net change in employment (entrants minus separations) in each age cohort over the projection period? Consequently, net replacements do not measure all workers who leave an occupation or represent the total number of jobs that will be filled due to the need to replace workers. These net replacements understate the total number of job openings in an occupation because they relate only to the net movement of experienced workers who enter or leave that occupation. However, net replacements are used in this article because the measure best represents the job openings for new labor force entrants over the projection period?

By 2005, more job openings are expected to resuit from replacement needs (31.7 million) than from employment growth in the economy (28.6 million). However, this pattern varies considerably among the major occupational groups and detailed occupations. For example, executive, administrative, and managerial occupations; professional specialty occupations; and technicians and related support occupations, all of which are projected to grow faster than average, provide many more openings attributable to growth than to net replacements. In contrast, for the major occupational groups that are projected to grow more slowly than average--administrative support occupations, including clerical; precision production, craft, and repair occupations; operators, fabricators, and laborers; and farming, forestry, and fishing occupations--the numbers of job openings attributable to net replacements are expected to exceed greatly those due to growth.

The number of job openings for service occupations through 2005 is projected to be 12.7 million and to exceed the number for professional occupations, the next largest group, by 2.9 million. Accounting for 21 percent of the total, numerous openings for service workers are expected to result from both net replacements and employment growth. The majority of replacements are expected to result from the movement of young workers in food preparation and service occupations to other occupations.

Educational requirements and earnings

This section focuses on implications of the continuing occupational restructuring of the U.S. economy on future educational requirements and earnings of workers. The Bureau does not project educational attainment and average earnings by occupation because both are affected by so many factors related to the demand and supply of workers in an occupation. Nevertheless, it is possible to examine what would happen to educational attainment and earnings over the 1992-2005 period if occupational employment were to change as projected, but educational attainment and earnings of detailed occupations remained unchanged at 1992 levels. While this scenario is unlikely to happen, the simulation provides insight into whether the Bureau's latest projections of employment for detailed occupations imply higher or lower levels of educational requirements and earnings in 2005 than in 1992 for the economy as a whole and for each of the major occupational groups.

The simulation was prepared because the implications of numerous projected changes to the occupational structure on future educational attainment and earnings are not clear. Employment is projected to increase faster than average in the three major occupational groups in which workers generally require education or training beyond high school---executive, administrative, and managerial occupations; professional specialty occupations; and technicians and related support occupations. These occupational groups had the largest proportions of workers completing at least 4 years of college in 1992 and the smallest proportions with less than a high school education. In 1992, workers in these occupational groups also had the highest median earnings among the major occupational groups. One other group, service occupations, is also projected to grow faster than average, but relatively few service workers had a college degree in 1992 and a high proportion had less than a high school education. Also, median eamings of service workers was the lowest among the major occupational groups. In addition, within each of the major occupational groups, there is significant variation in educational attainment and earnings among the detailed occupations. What, then, do the projected changes in occupational structure from 1992 to 2005 imply for future levels of educational attainment and earnings?

Of course, many factors will affect educational requirements and earnings of occupations over the 1992-2005 period. Changes in technology and in the organization of work will have a significant impact, as well as a wide variety of factors, according to economic theory. Yet, over time, the rankings of occupations by earnings has remained relatively stable as have the educational attainment levels of workers among occupations .6 Thus, using the educational attainment and eamhigs of workers in specific occupations in 1992 as a proxy for relative earnings in 2005 provides some insight into the implications of the projected changes in the occupational employment structure on the levels of earnings and educational attainment in 2005.

Specifically, the 1992 educational attainment distributions and median weekly earnings of detailed occupations were weighted by projected employment estimates for 2005 and the results aggregated to the major occupational groups.7 The projected 2005 estimates of educational attainment and median weekly earnings were then compared with the 1992 estimates for the same categories. (See table 9.) Using this method, we were able to isolate the effect of projected changes in employment by detailed occupation on educational attainment and on earnings levels at the major occupational group and in the aggregate across all occupations.

In general, an analysis of the results indicates relatively modest changes. At the aggregate level, the proportion of workers who are college graduates increases by 1.4 percentage points while those with some college (1 to 3 years) increase very slightly. The proportion of high school graduates decreases by almost 1 percentage point while those with less than a high school education decrease slightly. Therefore, the occupational distribution of projected employment contributes in an important way toward increasing jobs for workers with a college degree, while decreasing it for workers with a high school education or less. Median weekly earnings for both groups, however, would remain virtually unchanged from 1992 to 2005 at both the aggregate level and the major group level because of projected occupational employment shifts. The reason the analysis indicates relatively small changes in the levels of earnings is that the shares of employment accounted for by professional employees and service workers are expected to increase by about the same amount-- 1.8 percentage points and 1.5 percentage points respectively. These two major groups, which together are projected to provide almost half of the future job growth, are on opposite ends of the earnings spectrum. Therefore, the positive effect of an increase in jobs for professional workers (6.2 million) on median earnings levels for the total work force is expected to be offset by the slightly larger increase in jobs for service workers (6.5 million) who have much lower levels of earnings. In fact, earnings for service workers were about 40 percent below the average for all occupational groups in 1992. Part of the reason is that almost a third of these employees had less than a high school education and twice as many worked parttime than the average for all workers. Therefore, it is evident that the proportion of professional workers-and probably managers and technicians as well would have to increase even faster than already projected in order for occupational restructuring to raise significantly the levels of average earnings for the work force as a whole by 2005.

Alternative projections

The discussion of projections of occupational employment through the year 2005 thus far has focused on the moderate alternative of the three sets of projections developed by BLS. This section presents a brief analysis of the differences in employment at the major occupational group level between the moderate-trend projections and the low-trend and high-trend projections. Compared with a projected rate of growth of 22 percent for total employment in the moderate projection, growth rates are expected to be 15 percent in the low-trend and 27 percent in the high-trend alternative. (See table 2.)

The distribution of total employment by major occupational group varies little among the three sets of projections alternatives for 2005 because of offsetting changes among the detailed occupations within each of the major groups. (See table 10.) Among the detailed occupations, however, significant numerical differences exist between each of the alternatives. In fact, even the direction of projected employment for an occupation from 1992 to 2005 can be different among the alternatives. For example, the furnace operators and tenders occupation is projected to decline in employment in both the low and moderate alternatives, and is projected to increase in employment in the high alternative. The differences in projected occupational employment among the alternatives are caused only by differences in the projected levels of industry employment, because the same set of occupational staffing patterns by industry were used in all three projections alternatives.

In the high-trend alternative, total employment in 2005 is 14.9 million higher than in the low-trend alternative. Therefore, the range in projected employment for detailed occupations can be very wide, particularly for occupations of large size as shown in table 11.


Note: The occupational projections presented in this article provide information to those interested in labor market issues. They also provide the background for analyses of future employment opportunities described in the BLS publication, Occupational Outlook Handbook. Job outlook information in the 1994-95 edition of the Handbook, scheduled for release in the spring of 1994, will use the projections presented in each of the articles that make up The American work force: 1992-2005.

1 The 1992 employment estimates described in this article are derived from the Bureau's industry-occupation employment matrix which includes data for more than 500 detailed occupations and 250 detailed industries. The main sources of data used in the matrix are Current Employment Statistics (CES) estimates for total wage and salary jobs by industry and Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) data for employment by occupation within detailed industries. Total employment and occupational staffing patterns of wage and salary workers in agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, and trapping and in private households are derived from the Current Population Survey (CPS). Economy-wide data on self-employed and unpaid family workers by occupation are also derived from the cvs. The estimates derived from the CES and OES differ from those obtained from the CPS in a number of important ways. For example, employed persons who hold more than one job are included twice in the CES and OES estimates, but only once in the CPS data, which excludes the secondary jobs of workers.

2 The services industry division in the industry-occupation matrix includes State and local government hospitals and education. In the article on industry employment (pages 4157) workers in State and local government hospitals and education are included in the estimates of government employment.

3 This analysis excludes miscellaneous residual occupational groups and occupations with fewer than 25,000 workers in 1992.

4 See the discussion on the uses of replacement needs information developed in Occupational Projections and Training Data (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1992), p. 90.

5 See Occupational Projections and Training Data.

6 See Steven Hitchcock, "Ranking Occupational Earnings," Occupational Outlook Quarterly (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Fall 1990).

7 The 1992 data on educational attainment and median weekly earnings by detailed occupation were obtained from the CPS. The earnings data by occupation relate to full-time and part-time wage and salary workers and do not include data on self-employed and unpaid family workers. The educational attainment data, however, include all classes of fulltime and part-time employees.
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Title Annotation:The American work force: 1992-2005
Author:Silvestri, George T.
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Nov 1, 1993
Previous Article:Industry output and employment.
Next Article:National, Bethlehem settle.

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