Printer Friendly

Occupational employment projections: the 1984-95 outlook.

According to the most recent projections of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupational employment growth trends over the 1984-95 period are expected to depart from the recent past for some broad occupational groups and for many detailed occupations. Some occupations, especially in the clerical group, are expected to slow their rate of growth considerably, while others, mainly blue-collar occupations, that grew in the past are expected to decline. These changes result from a projected slowing of total employment growth, from changes in industry growth trends, and from technological change affecting the occupational structure of industries. Many occupations that expanded rapidly from the early 1970's to the mid-1980's will still grow faster than average, although they are expected to have slower growth rates through the mid-1990's. Despite the slowing of total employment growth, from 23 percent to 15 percent, a few occupations are expected to grow faster over the 1984--95 period than over the previous 11 years.

Broad occupational structure

Insights into the changing occupational structure of the United States, implied by the Bureau's projections, can be obtained by viewing the data in several different ways. The first approach presented here is a comparison of past and projected growth for the 10 major occupational groups that include all the detailed occupations found in the economy.

Over the 1984-95 period, the three major occupational groups having the largest proportion of workers with a college education or specialized post-secondary technical training are expected to increase faster than the average for all occupations (that is, the projected growth rate for total employment). The first of these three major groups, executive, administrative, and managerial workers, is projected to increase by 22 percent, compared with the 15-percent growth rate for total employment. The demand for salaried managers is expected to increase rapidly as firms increasingly depend on trained management specialists. The projected rate of growth for professional specialties is 22 percent, with an increase of 2.8 million jobs. Many occupations in this group are expected to surge, including computer-related occupations, engineering, and health specialties. The ranks of technicians and related support workers, with a 29-percent increase, are projected to grow the fastest of all the rate of growth from 1973 to 1984. The rate of expansion of all three groups, while faster than average, will be slower than in the past.

The number of salesworkers is projected to increase faster than average from 1984 to 1995, adding about 2.2 million jobs. The projected increase of 20 percent, however, is about half of the growth rate experienced from 1973 to 1984.

Administrative support workers, including clerical, which grew about as fast as average during the 1973--84 period, are projected to grow more slowly than average through the mid-1990's. This group is expected to add 1.8 million jobs during the 1984--85 period, however, and remain the largest gorup, with 20.5 million workers in 1995. Workers in this occupational group are not concentrated in any specific industry sector; they are found in virtually every industry in the economy. Therefore, differences in employment growth trends among industries will have less of an impact on clerical workers than on most other broad groups. What is already having an effect on the employment of clerical workers and should be more pronounced through the mid-1990's is the rapid spread of computerized office equipment and other related office automation. The automation of clerical tasks will slow the growth of many detailed occupations, including secretaries and typists and cause others, such as payroll and timekeeping clerks, to decline. As a result, the share of total employment accounted for by the administrative support group, is projected to decline from 17.5 percent in 1984 to 16.7 percent in 1995.

Private household workers are expected to continue their long-term employment decline. However, the rate of decline is projected to be considerably slower than the rate of decline from 1973 to 1984.

Service workers, except private household workers, are projected to continue to grow faster than total employment, despte a signficant slowing of the growth rate from 38 percent during the 1973--84 period to 21 percent for the 1981--95 period. This occupational group is expected to account for more job growth than any other broad group and to account for 3.3 million of the 16 million jobs expected to be added from 1984 to 1995. In contrast, during the 1973--84 period, three other occupational groups, managers, professional workers, and clerical workers, each added more jobs than service workers. The large number of new jobs expected to be added by service workers is a result of the continued shift of the economy from goods production to services production. As in the recent past, employment in service-producing industries, particularly those in which service workers are concentrated, is expected to continue to increase faster than goods-producing industries and account for a much greater share of total employment.

Precision production, craft, and repair occupations are projected to grow by nearly 12 percent--somewhat more slowly than total employment. Their percent of total employment is expected to decline slightly from 11.4 to 11.1 percent. The increase of these workers is heavily tied to the growth of the construction and manufacturing industries in which they are concentrated; manufacturing is projected to grow slowly, while construction if projected to have average growth, thereby slowing the growth of the precision production, craft, and repair occupations.

Operators, fabricators, and laborers are projected to increase by only 7 percent from 1984 to 1995. Nevertheless, this represents a change from the 1973--84 period when the rate for these workers declined. However, during the 1973--84 period, employment declined in many manufacturing industries in which these workers are concentrated because the effects of the 1980--82 recesion period were still felt in many industries in 1984. Over the 1984--95 period, manufacturing is projected to grow slowly. Many detailed occupations in this major occupational group, including machine operators, assemblers, and inspectors, are expected to be affected by the new technologies in manufacturing, such as computer-aided manufacturing and robotics. However, technological change is expected to have less of an impact on transportation and material moving occupations in this group, such as truck drivers, bus drives and airplane pilots.

Farming, forestry, and fishing workers are expected to continue to decline because of productivity growth in agriculture. The projected decline for these workers, about 3 percent, however, is expected to be about half that in the recent past.

Methodological approach

The Bureau's method of developing occupational projections provides a method for Bureau analysts to account for the effects of the wide variety of factors that are expected to cause changes in employment for specific occupations. An industry-occupation matrix is the primary statistical tool used for developing occupational projections. The matrix for 1984 presents, in percentage terms, the distribution of more than 500 occupations in 378 industries based on recent surveys of occupational employment by industry. The occupational structure for each industry was projected to 1995 through analyses of the factors that are expected to change the structure. The projected structure was applied to the projected total industry employment derived from the Bureau's economic model, which captures expected changes in the structure of demand among industries, changes in labor requirements per unit of output, and other factors as specified in the accompanying articles.

The complex factors that affect the employment growth for detailed occupations can be classified into two categories--the expansion of detailed industries and the changing occupational structure of industries. The growth of specific industries has a significant bearing on the growth of occupations because occupations account for widely different proportions of employment in different industries. For example, the growth of health-related occupations is closely tied to the growth of the health services industry, but the growth of the banking industry has little direct impact on health occupations.

The main causes of occupational structure changes within industries are: (a) technological change, (b) changes in business practices and methods of operation, and (c) product demand changes. Technological innovations may increase or reduce labor requiremens for an occupation. For example, the growing use of computer technology is expected to increase the requirements for systems analysts and computer programmers and in nearly all industries these workers are expected to account for an increasing share of total employment during the 1984--95 period. However, requirements for typists are expected to be reduced because of the spreading use of word processing equipment and the amount of these workers is projected to decline as a proportion of employment in virtually all industries. Nevertheless, in many industries, employment of typists is expected to rise as the increase in total industry employment overrides the impact of technlogy.

In addition to technological innovations, changes in business practices and methods of operation affect the occupational structure of an industry. For example, the growing tendency of businesses to contract out building cleaning services will reduce the proportion of employment accounted for by janitors and cleaners in most industries. However, the negative effect on employment of janitors of this trend will be offset by significant employment gains in the building cleaning services industry.

Changes in the demand for goods and services provided by an industry level will also affects its occupational structure. For example, the educational services industry will have an increase in demand for elementary schoolteachers as the number of elementary school age children rises, but a decline in demand for college teachers as the number of college age students declines. Therefore, the occupational structure of the educational services industry in 1995 is projected to have a large proportion of elementary schoolteachers than in 1984 but to also have a smaller proportion of college teachers.

It is important to remember that occupational structure changes and industry employment shifts do not operate in isolation. The factors interact with one another and it is usually not possible to attribute an occupational employment change solely to one factor. Computer programmers, for example, are generally increasing as a proportion of employment in most industries, but overall employment growth for this occupation is also affected by increasing total employment within most industries that are large employers of these computer-related occupations.

The Bureau has developed three sets of occupational projections with each set tied to one of the economic and industry employment alternatives presented elsewhere in this issue of the Review. The projected staffing patterns of industries used to translate industry employment into occupational employment were identical for all alternatives. The different growth rates for occupations among the alternatives, therefore, reflect the assumptions and analyses that underlie the alternative industry employment projections.

The basic changes in the occupational structure of the economy from 1984 to 1995 among the three alternatives are similar. Thus, although this article focuses on the moderate scenario, the discussion would be very similar if either of the other scenarios were highlighted. The major differences in trends among the alternatives are discussed later in this article. Differences in the occupational projections among the three alternatives shold not be considered as the potential range within which projected 1995 employment will fall. The potential range is wider because most occupations are sensitive to a much wider variety of assumptions than those that we considered in the alternatives that are presented.

Detailed occupational employment trends

Projections for detailed occupations having 25,000 or more workers in 1984 are presented in table 2. The job market over the 1984--95 period implied by these projections can be viewed from a variety of perspectives. One view indicates occupations that are expected to provide the largest numerical growth. Another view presents occupations that are expected to have the most rapid growth or the largest percentage declines. It is also useful to view occupations from the perspective of job clusters that contain occupations concentrated in specific industrial sectors of the economy or which perform related types of activities. Within each cluster, occupations generally have wide ranges of skill or training requirements.

Occupations adding largest number of jobs. Thirty-seven of the 500 detailed occupations for which projections were developed account for about one-half of the projected total job growth between 1984 and 1995. About one-fourth of the occupations generally require a college degree, roughly the same proportion found among all jobs in the economy. In general, these occupations are numerically large (only two had less than 300,000 workers in 1984). Some of these occupations have projected rates of growth that are average of higher. However, others are projected to grow more slowly than average, but because of their employment size they will add significant numbers of new jobs over the 1984--95 period. Collectively, these 37 occupations accounted for 36 percent of total employment in 1984, and this proportion is expected to increase only to 39 percent by 1995.

The detailed occupations in table 3 do not include what are called residual categories for the major occupational groups. The residual categories are often very large because they contain a wide range of job titles and therefore account for much of the group's employment growth. For instance, the residual category, "all other managers and administrators," is projected to grow by more than 1.8 million workers out of a total growth of 1.9 million workers in the major occupational group, managerial and administrative workers.

Fastest growing and fastest declining occupations. The fastest growing occupations provide a different perspective to future occupational employment changes. It is important to note that some of these occupations are increasing rapidly from relatively small employment levels and, therefore, are not found on the list of occupations that will add the most new jobs. Notable exceptions are computer programmers, computer systems analysts, electrical and electronics engineers, and electrical and electronics technicians and technologists. These technology oriented occupations, however, collectively do not account for a large portion of jobs projected to be added in 1995. Almost half of the 20 fastest growing occupations are in the computer field or health field, which will continue to be among those with the strongest future growth.

Table 5 shows the 20 most rapidly declinining occupations. Most are concentrated in industries that have recently contracted and are expected to continue to do so. Several are in the apparel and textile industries, both of which have suffered employment losses because of foreign competition and technological improvements. These two industries combined are projected to lose about 350,000 jobs by 1995. Other declining occupations are in railroad transportation, agriculture, and private households, industries which are expected to continue their long-run declines. Occupations that are expected to be affected adversely by technological changes are stenographers, industrial truck and tractor operators, telephone station installers and repairers, and statistical clerks.

Jobs clusters

Computer occupations. The applications for computers have expanded dramatically over the last two decades, and it appears that they will continue to do so through the mid-1990's. Workers engaged in developing computer-based systems and in operating these systems are projected to increase substantially by 1995. The number of computer systems analysts is projected to grow 69 percent from 1984 to 1995, adding more than 212,000 jobs. This occupation will benefit from the rise in new computer applications. Computer programmers are expected to increase 72 percent by 1995, or by 245,000 jobs over this period. The mounting number of new computer applications and the need to modify existing systems should bring about rapid employment growth for computer programmers, despite the increasing efficiency of programming methods.

Computer operators should continue their healthy employment growth, increasing 46 percent or by 111,000 jobs between 1984 and 1995. This increase is expected to occur or more small and medium size firms introduce more comprehensive computer systems.

The number of data processing equipment repairers is projected to increase about 56 percent, adding 28,000 jobs by 1995. Many of these workers will be needed to service the more mechanical computer-related equipment, such as disk and tape drives and printers, in addition to computers. Computers have become increasingly modular in construction, leading to greater ease of repair, but the number of computers is expected to increase rapidly enough to require the services of numerous data processing equipment repairers.

Data entry keyers are the only computer-related occupation not expected to grow rapidly. The technology for data entry is changing so fast that fewer keypunch operators are needed. These workers are being replaced by terminal operators, many of whom do this work only incidentally to the main functions, for example, airline ticket agents, cashiers, and so forth. Optical character recognition equipment and direct sensing equipment are other ways of inputting data without using data entry keyers.

Scientific and technical occupations. High technology industry growth and the increasing use of high technology products in the economy as a whole will lead to the increasing employment of scientific and technical personnel. Engineers are projected to increase 36 percent during the 1984--95 period, adding 480,000 jobs. Much of this sharp rise will be found among electrical and electronic engineers (up 206,000) engaged in developing computers, communications equipment, and defense-related electronic equipment. Mechanical engineers and civil engineers are two other numerically important engineering specialties which are expected to grow rapidly. Mechanical engineers, with projected growth of 81,000 jobs from 1984 to 1995, will be needed to keep product design and product methods up-to-date as a part of industry's desire to remain competitive. Civil engineers, up 46,000 jobs, will be needed for additional heavy construction.

Engineering and scientific technicians and technologists are projected to grow 28 percent between 1984 and 1995, adding 371,000 jobs. These occupations follow the employment trends of their related scientific and engineering occupations. Drafters are expected to be a major exception among the technician occupations. They are expected to increase more slowly than the average for total employment, owing to the introduction of computer-aided design (CAD) equipment, which has increased the efficiency of drafting operations, and is expected to continue. The expanding need for drafting work and the ability of management to improve the quality of work by using CAD, however, will prevent a decline in drafters, despite the greater efficiency of the new equipment.

Biological scientists are projected to increase about average between 1984 and 1995, as they continue to develop drugs, food products, and chemicals. The number of chemists is projected to rise 10 percent, or slower than average, reflecting the relatively mature industries in which they are concentrated. Mathematical scientists should have faster than average growth, mainly as a result of increased statistical work and mathematical modeling.

Health-related occupations. Occupations in the health care field, including medical professionals, technicians, and service workers, are projected to increase by 26 percent and add 1.4 million jobs by 1995. This faster than average rate of growth, however, will not be uniform across industries and occupations related to the delivery of health care. The hospital industry, in particular, is undergoing major changes in the services it provides and in the occupational skill mix needed to provide them. Hospital employment soared over the 1973--84 period, but slower than average growth is projected for the 1984--95 period. Despite the deceleration in hospital employment, faster than average growth is projected for nursing homes, doctors' offices, and outpatient care facilities.

Cost-containment pressures, technological advances that allow sophisticated care to be provided on an outpatient basis, and consumer demand for community-based and home health care will have an adverse impact on some occupations and a favorable impact on others. Surgical technicians are projected to grow as fast as the average employment growth for all occupations and medical and clinical laboratory technologists are projected to grow more slowly than average. The number of physicians' assistants, however, is expected to grow much faster than the economy's projected average growth as hospitals and health maintenance organizations employ more of them to help contain costs. Additional opportunities for physicians' assistants are also expected in large multi-specialty offices of physicians. The number of medical records technologists and technicians is also expected to grow much faster than average, owing to the great importance of the medical records department to hospitals in monitoring and reducing costs. Medical assistants are also projected to grow much faster than average. Contributing to future job growth is the projected increase in the number of physicians in practice and the extremely rapid growth in outpatient care facilities, such as urgent care centers and "surgicenters."

Most other health occupations are expected to experience faster or higher than average growth. Registered nurses are expected to remain the largest specialty with 1.8 million workers in 1995--an increase of 33 percent over 1984, creating 452,000 jobs. Most of the job growth for registered nurses is expected to occur in hospitals, despite the relatively slow rate of growth for this industry within the health services sector. Their importance in hospitals will increase as they take over some of the functions performed by other health personnel. The next largest group, nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants, is projected to increase by 29 percent and 348,000 new jobs, followed by licensed practical nurses--up 18 percent and 106,000 new jobs. The dominant factor contributing to job growth for both nurses aides and licensed practical nurses is the aging of the population. Care of the aged, however, is expected to continue to shift away from hospitals to nursing homes and home health care. By 1995, nursing homes (with a projected rate of growth of 44 percent) should move ahead of hospitals as the primary employer of both nurses aides and licensed practical nurses.

Physicians and surgeons are another large occupational group thati is projected to increase faster than average--up 23 percent. Other smaller health occupations that are projected to grow rapidly include physical therapists, occupational therapists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, and dietitians.

Education-related occupations. Occupations in education, as a group, are projected to grow about as fast as average. However, different rates of change are expected for the various specialties owing to changing demographics of the school-age population and other factors determining the rates of growth or decline of employment at the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary levels.

Kindergarten and elementary schoolteachers are projected to increase 20 percent and add 281,000 new jobs. School enrollments at the elementary level are expected to become a larger proportion of total enrollments and teacher-pupil ratios are also expected to increase. Favorable employment opportunities are expected for teacher aides and educational assistants--up 18 percent and about 88,000 new jobs.

Secondary schoolteachers are projected to grow more slowly than average (5 percent), adding 48,000 jobs. While secondary school enrollments are expected to become a smaller proportion of total school enrollments, the effect of this relative decline will be moderated somewhat by an increase in teacher-pupil ratios.

College and university faculty are projected to decline from 731,000 in 1984 to 654,000 in 1995, a loss of 77,000 jobs to the profession. The primary reason for this drop is the expected decline in college enrollments through 1995.

The number of vocational education and training teachers and instructors is expected to have an average rate of increase. The number of 18- to 24-year-olds, who are the primary consumers of vocational education, will decline through 1995. However, this decline is expected to be partially offset by an increase in the number of adults who may need retraining because of the technological displacement.

Preschool teachers also grew rapidly in the past and are now projected to increase only as fast as average in the future. The rate of increase in the population under 5 years of age and in the labor force participation rate of women are both expected to slow down through 1995.

The numbers of professional librarians, library technicians, and library assitants are all expected to grow more slowly than average because of the slow enrollment growth in schools, where most library occupations are found, and the continued trend to automate the circulation, cataloging, and acquisition departments of most libraries.

Office clerical workers. This group experienced a rapid growth in the 1960's and average growth in the 1970's but is projected to grow more slowly than average between 1984 and 1995. In addition to the direct impact that computerized office equipment will have on the clerical work force, the rate of employment growth of these workers is expected to be further slowed as more and more professionals and managers use desktop personal computers and executive work-stations to do some of the work previously delegated to support staff.

In spite of the slowing employment growth, it is important to remember that office clerical workers are projected to add almost 2 million jobs and remain the largest major occupational group in 1995 with 20.5 million workers. The number of new jobs created is large, even with slow growth, because of the relatively large employment base in 1984. Significant numbers of new jobs in the future are expected to be added in several clerical fields, including secretaries (268,000 jobs); general office clerks (231,000 jobs); bookkeepping, accounting, and auditing clerks (118,000 jobs); and receptionists and information clerks (83,000 jobs).

Other occupations are expected to be more severely affected by office automation and other types of technological changes that will result in little or no job growth for some and declining employment for others. Typists, for example, will continue to be affected by developments in word processing and are expected to have little change in employment from 1984 to 1995. Low growth rates are also expected for file clerks; reservation and transportation ticket agents; traffic, shipping, and receiving clerks; and production, planning, and expediting clerks. Several occupations are expected to decline in employment between 1984 and 1995, including stenographers (down 40 percent), statistical clerks (down 13 percent), and payroll and timekeeping clerks (down 5 percent).

Technological changes in specific industries are also expected to adversely affect certain occupations. The implementation of electronic switching in the telephone industry, for example, is projected to cause the number of central office operators to decline by 11 percent. Also, the rapid spread of automated teller machines and the increased use of electronic funds transfer in banking is expected to cause tellers to increase more slowly than average, in contrast to the rapid growth that has occurred for many years. United States Postal Service clerks are projected to decline by 9 percent owing to the further application of technologies that reduce labor requirements in this occupation, including computer forwarding, optical character recognition, sorting devices, and electronic weighing of mail. Many of these same technological advances will curtail the need for mail clerks (except mailing machine operators and postal service), but rapid growth of private express mail companies is expected to moderate some of the impact and result in little change in employment for the occupation.

Some clerical occupations are projected to increase significantly, despite technological changes because they are concentrated in industries that are expected to increase in employment. Among these occupations are switchboard operators, adjustment clerks, bill and account collectors, insurance adjusters and investigators, court clerks, and credit checkers.

Service occupations, except private household workers. A continued trend toward eating outside the home is foreseen, but within the eating and drinking industry, a slowing in the growth of employment in fast-food establishments and an increase in restaurants is expected. A rapid projected rate of growth for the industry overall will result in a faster than average increase for food and beverage service occupations with 1.5 million jobs added by 1995. Among the occupations in this group projected to add large numbers of new jobs are waiters and waitresses (424,000); food preparation workers, except fast-food (219,000); and restaurant cooks (138,000). Because of their large employment size, food preparation and service workes in fast food restaurants are projected to add 215,000 jobs, despite only average growth.

The number of janitors and cleaners is projected to show average growth, 15 percent, but because of the size of the occupation this will result in 443,000 new jobs. In most industries, however, janitors and cleaners will decline as a proportion of employment, as contractors will increasingly provide these services. An exception is the services to buildings industry, in which the large concentration of these employees is expected to grow very rapidly.

The numbers of police and detectives and of workers in firefighting occupations are both projected to increase as fast as the average, adding 66,000 and 48,000 new jobs. Guards are expected to increase at a faster than average rate, adding almost of 188,000 new jobs. As with janitors and cleaners, their services are increasingly being purchased by contracting out.

About 295,000 new jobs are expected to be added by personal service workers. Several of the detailed occupations are projected to grow faster than average, including flight attendants, cosmetologists and related workers, social welfare service aides, and amusement and recreation attendants.

Construction trades. The construction trades are expected to experience a moderate employment growth of 12 percent between 1984 and 1995. However, even this moderate growth should generate 396,000 additional jobs because of the large employment in this group of occupations.

Carpenters, the largest of the construction trades, are projected to grow about as fast as average and add about 100,000 jobs between 1984 and 1995. Electricians, another large construction trade, should have more significant employment growth between 1984 and 1995, with a growth rate of 16 percent and 88,000 additional jobs. The employment of electricians is split about evenly between those working in the construction industry and those doing maintenance work throughout the rest of the economy.

Mechanics and repairers. Mechanics, installers, and repairers are projected to increase 15 percent, adding 647,000 new jobs by 1995. Many of these occupations are employed in manufacturing which tends to slow their growth, but they are also found outside manufacturing, sharing the more rapid expansion of those industries. Wherever mechanics, installers, and repairers are employed, they have increased employment to some extent because of the growing use of capital equipment which requires maintenance and repair.

Automotive and motorcycle mechanics are projected to add 185,000 jobs. Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists should add another 48,000 jobs. Automotive body and related repairers should gain 32,000 jobs by 1995. Thus, motor vehicles are expected to be responsible for about two-fifths of the total growth of the mechanics and repairs occupational group.

Other occupations in this group also contribute significantly to its employment growth. General utility maintenance repairers are projected to add 137,000 jobs. Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers are expected to add 29,000 new jobs.

Production occupations. Employment growth of production occupations is closely tied to the growth of manufacturing employment. Within the production worker cluster, the occupational group of helpers, laborers, and material movrs (hand) should increase more slowly than average becuase of the growing use of automation in manufacturing. Blue-collar worker supervisors are projected to increase more slowly than average but add 85,000 additional jobs because of the large size of the occupation. Other occupations within the production worker cluster are also affected by changing practices within the manufacturing industries.

Precision production jobs overall are projeted to increase by 10 percent, with about 287,000 new jobs. Precision inspectors, testers, and graders should increase rapidly, up almost 49,000 jobs, as more emphasis is placed on quality control of high technology products. Sheet metal workers should gain almost 33,000 jobs. Machinists are being affected by the introduction of numercially controlled machine tools which require less specialized set-up procedures and therefore, theie numbers are expected to grow more slowly than average.

Machine setters, set-up operators, and tenders are projected to increase by only 4 percent because of increasing automation in most manufacturing industries. However, this slow growth should still yield 196,000 more jobs on account of the large size of this group of occupations. The number of plastic molding machine operators and tenders would, under teh assumptions used by BLS in developing these projections, grow faster than average between 1984 and 1995. This growth results from the increasing substitution of plastics for other materials in manufactured goods. Many of the textile and garment occupations in this group should decline mainly as employment in the apparel and textile industries decline as a result of increasing foreign competition.

The handworking occupations, including assemblers and fabricators, are projected to grow more slowly than average. Precision assemblers, however, should increase as fast as average, adding 66,000 jobs in the high technology industries, such as electronics, aircraft, and machine tools.

Transportation and material moving occupations. Employment in this group of occupations generally follows overall economic activity, increasing when total employment is increasing and declining in recessions. After peaking in 1979, employment for this group declined during the recessions of 1980 and 1982. With recovery in 1984, employment rose again and is now projected to increase about as fast as total employment, adding 528,000 jobs by 1995.

The largest detailed occupation in the group is truck drivers, with employment projected to increase from 2.5 million in 1984 to 2.9 million in 1995. No significant technological developments are anticipated that would adversely affect their employment. Average growth is also expected for both the drivers of school buses and local and intercity buses. The fastest growing occupation in this group is aircraft pilots and flight engineers (23 percent), whose employment is expected to be favorably influenced by the faster than average growth projected for the air transportation industry.

Some transportation and material moving occupations will be adversely affected by declining industry employment and others by technological change. The rapid decline in employment projected for the railroad industry (from 369,000 to 272,000) will cause railroad transportation workers to decline. The shift to self-service gasoline stations will continue to have an impact on the employment of service station attendants, with little change in employment projected over the 1984--95 period. Industrial truck and tractor operators are projected to lose 46,000 jobs owing to technological innovations. New industrial trucks that are linked to the dispatcher by computer will make their operators more productive and the growth of automated warehouses will eliminate the need for many of these workers.

Low and high alternative projections

Total employment in the moderate-trend projections varies by only about 4 percent from both the low and high alternatives. The distribution of employment by broad occupational group varies little among the alternatives (table 6) because of offsetting changes within the major occupational groups. In looking at specific occupations, however, significant differences may exist between the moderate and either the low and high alternatives (table 2). The differences in occupational employment from one scenario to another are caused only by differences in projected industry employment levels because the same set of occupational staffing patterns were used for all three scenarios. The following identifies the top 10 occupations with the greatest numerical differences between the alternative (high or low) projected employment and the moderate-trend employment:

Data uses and limitations

The current and projected occupational employment data presented in this article were developed at a detailed industry level as part of a national industry-occupation employment matrix. Data on specific occupations from the matrix along with other information on training requirements, nature of work, working conditions, and earnings will be used in the 1986--87 edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook which will be issued in the spring of 1986. In addition to being used in the development of career guidance information, national occupational employment data and projections are used at all levels of government, and by others, to formulate education plans, including vocational education and training requirements.

Most discussions of future job opportunities focus on the employment growth in industries and occupations. Because faster growing industires and occupations generally offer better opportunities for employment and advancement, employment growth is an important gauge of job outlook. However, it is not the only one. Another element in the employment outlook is replacement needs. Replacement openings occur as people leave occupations. Some individuals transfer to other occupations as a step up the career ladder or to change careers. Some temporarily stop working, perhaps to return to school or care for a family, and some leave the labor force permanently--retirees, for example. In many occupations, as a consequence, replacement needs are more important than openings owing to growth in an are more important than openings owing to growth in an occupation. Another consideration in interpreting the data on occupational deman is the availability or supply of workers trained or educated to enter an occupation. Even with rapidly expanding job openings from either growth or replacement needs, jobseekers may have a difficult time finding a job because the supply of workers is expanding at an even faster pace.
COPYRIGHT 1985 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Silvestri, George T.; Lukasiewicz, John M.
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Nov 1, 1985
Previous Article:A second look at industry output and employment trends through 1995.
Next Article:BLS projections procedures.

Related Articles
A second look at industry output and employment trends through 1995.
Employment in health services: long-term trends and projections.
Overview and implications of the projections to 2000.
A look at occupational employment trends to the year 2000.
How accurate are recent BLS occupational projections?
Occupation employment projections.
Historical trends, 1950-92, and current uncertainties.
BLS projections to 2006 - a summary.
Occupational employment projections to 2006.
A summary of BLS projections to 2014: the U.S. economy is expected to expand at a moderately strong pace over the coming decade, with restrained...

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters