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The 1988-89 job outlook in brief.

The 1988-89 Job Outlook in Brief by Martha C. White

They're closing down the textile mill Across the railroad tracks. Foreman says these jobs are going, boys, and they ain't coming back.

-- Bruce Springsteen

The loss of factory jobs that Bruce Springsteen sings about in "Home-town" worries many people, who wonder if the closing of the mills means the end of their chances for a job. New projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that, although some occupations will employ fewer workers in the future, most are growing. An expanding economy and increased demand for goods and services will create millions of jobs in almost every type of occupation between now and the year 2000. Growth will be especially strong for technicians, service workers, managers, sales workers, management-related workers, and professionals. On average, an occupation that has 100 workers today will have 119 in the year 2000.

The number and kinds of workers needed in different occupation depend on the interplay of demographic, economic, social, and technological factors. The Bureau of Labor Statistics analyzes changes in these factors in order to develop projections of future demand in hundreds of industries and occupations. This article, which is revised every 2 years when the projections are updated, summarizes the employment outlook in 255 occupations.

Information in the "Brief"

"The Job Outlook in Brief" provides thumbnail sketches of employment data for each of the occupations in the 1988-89 Occupational Outlook Handbook, on which it is based. Each entry presents the occupation's based. Each entry presents the occupation's title, 1986 employment, the percent change projected in employment between 1986 and 2000, the numerical change projected in employment between 1986 and 2000, and a summary of the job prospects for the occupation. The occupations are grouped in the following 18 clusters:

Managerial and management-related occupations.

Engineers, surveyors, and architects.

Natural, computer, and mathematical scientists.

Lawyers, social scientists, social workers, and religious workers.

Teachers, librarians, and counselors.

Health diagnosing practitioners.

Health assessing and treating occupations.

Writers, artists, and entertainers.

Technician occupations.

Marketing and sales occupations.

Administrative support occupations, including clerical.

Service occupations.

Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and related occupations.

Mechanics, installers, and repairers.

Construction trades and extractive occupations.

Production occupations.

Transportation and materials-moving occupations.

Handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers.

(An index of individual occupations appears on page 45.)

Before turning to the occupations that interest you, look over the next few pages. They discuss factors that affect employment in an occupation -- such as the demand for goods and services -- describe the projections, and give an overview of the employment outlook for each of the 18 groups.

Why employment Changes

The number of workers employed in any occupation depends in part on the demand for the goods or services provided by those workers. Over the last 10 years, for example, increased use of computers by businesses, schools, scientific organizations, and government agencies has contributed to large increases in the number of systems analysts, programmers, computer operators, and computer service technicians. Even if the demand for goods and services provided by a group of workers rises, however, employment may not increase or may increase more slowly than demand because of changes in the ways good are produced and services are provided. In fact, some changes in technology and business practices cause employment to decline. For example, even though the volume of paperwork to be processed is expected to continue to increase rapidly, the employment of typists and word processors will fall; this reflects the growing use of word processing equipment that increases the productivity of these workers and permits other office workers to do more of their own typing.

Using information on the demand for goods and services, advances in technology, changes in business practices, and the occupational composition of industries, economists at BLS have developed three projections of employment by occupation in the year 2000. Each projection was developed in the light of a series of assumptions about the future. By varying the assumptions about such factors as growth of the labor force, output, productivity, inflation, and unemployment, the Bureau developed three different views of the economy in the year 2000. Referred to as the moderate-, low-, and high-growth scenarios, each provides a different employment estimate for most occupations.

All the data in the "Brief" come from the set of moderate-growth projections, which is characterized by steady economic growth through the year 2000.

Future employment growth is clouded by uncertainly. The different scenarios represent only three of many possible courses for the economy; different assumptions would lead to other projections. For this reason, the scenarios should not be viewed as the bounds of employment growth; rather, they illustrate what might happen under different conditions. For example, unforseen changes in technology or the balance of trade could radically alter future employment for individual occupations.

More information about the assumptions underlying the projections and the methods used to develop the projections -- along with some of the actual projections -- is presented in "An Over-view of the Year 2000," the first article in this issue. The fall 11987 issue of the Occupational Outlook Quarterly contains numerous charts that illustrate these projections; a series of articles in the September 1987 issue of the Monthly Labor Review presents detailed projections for the labor force, GNP, industries, and occupations.

Employment Through the Year 2000

Between 1986 and 2000, over 21 million new jobs will be added to the economy. Employment will rise from 111 million to 133 million, this represents an average growth for all occupations of 19 percent. This section looks at the 18 groups of occupations and gives an overview of projected employment change through the year 2000. Bear in mind that a particular occupation may not follow the trend projected for the group in which it is found. Therefore, you should refer to the long table on pages 17 to 44 for the outlook in a specific occupation.

Throughout this article, growth rates and opportunities are compared to the average for all occupations; the box, "Key Words in the Brief," explains the phrases used. In addition, the descriptions of the employment prospects frequently refer to the amount of competition jobseekers are likely to encounter. Assessing the degree of competition is difficult. For occupations with lengthy training and strict entry requirements, it can be done with some accuracy. However, most occupations have several methods of entry and flexible requirements. In such cases, the potential supply of workers cannot be precisely measured, and it is not meaningful to talk about shortages and surpluses.

One final factor to remember when checking the outlook for an occupation is that growth in employment is only one source of job openings. In fact, most epenings arise because of the need to replace workers who leave the occupation. As a result, even occupations with slower than average growth may offer many jobs for new workers.

Managerial and management-related occupations. Workers in managerial occupations establish policies, make plans, determine staffing needs, and direct the activities of businesses, government agencies, and other organizations. Workers in management-related occupations provide technical support to managers.

The increasing complexity of business organizations and continuing expansion of the economy are expected to contribute to faster than average growth for these workers. Although these workers are employed throughout the economy, differences in industry expansion will produce varying rates of employment change for particular kinds of managers. For example, the growth of employment agencies and temporary help firms should result in much faster than average growth for employment interviewers. Managerial and management-related occupations should also experience faster than average growth in industries providing financial services, insurance, and health services. In contrast, those working in government and education are likely to face average or slower than average growth.

Due to growth in the number of people seeking managerial and management-related jobs and the increasing technical requirements in many of these occupations, experience, specialized training, or postbaccalaureate study will be needed for many of these jobs. Familiarity with computers will also be helpful as managers increasingly rely on computerized information systems to direct their organizations.

Engineers, surveyors, and architects. Workers in these occupations design machinery, highways, products, and buildings. Employment is expected to increase much faster than average because of growing international trade and increased demand for goods, services, office buildings, homes, and other facilities. Electrical and electronics engineers are expected to have the largest and most rapid employment gain in this group.

Natural, computer, and mathematical scientists. Workers in this group conduct scientific research, solve complex mathematical problems, and develop computer systems. The growing use of computers in all sectors of the economy is expected to contribute to much faster than average growth of computer systems analysts and operations research analysts. The employment of physical and life scientists is expected to increase as fast as average as research and development activities expand.

Lawyers, social scientists, social workers, and religious workers. These workers provided social services and conduct research into the behavior of individuals, groups, and society at large. Although most occupations should grow faster or much faster than average, competition for jobs is anticipated due to the large numbers of people qualified for this work. Because of declines in the college-age population, competition will be especially keen for academic positions.

Generally, prospects will be better for social scientists with advanced degrees who seek work in applied fields. Strong demand for legal services by individuals and businesses is expected to result in much faster than average growth for lawyers. Opportunities also should be good for those interested in entering the clergy.

Teachers, librarians, and counselors. Workers in these occupations help people learn, acquire information, or gain insight into themselves. In many cases, these workers must be certified before they can practice. Overall employment is projected to increase as fast as average, but individual occupational growth rates will reflect underlying demographic trends. For example, the rising participation of women in the labor force is expected to increase demand for child daycare services and, thus, preschool teachers. However, declining college enrollments should reduce demand for college faculty and create keen competition for the openings that do arise.

Health diagnosing practioners. This group includes physicians, dentists, and other workers who diagnose, treat, and try to prevent illness and disease.

All of these occupations are growing faster than average. But, despite the expected growth in the health industry, unprecedented competition is expected for physicians, dentists, chiropractors, and veterinarians seeking to establish practices due to the large number of newly trained practitioners entering these fields each year.

Health assessing and treating occupations. This group includes registered nurses, dietitians, physicians assistants, pharmacists, and therapists. Workers in these occupations care for the sick, help thd disabled, and advise people on ways of maintaining or improving their health.

Job growth in the health industries where these workers are employed is much faster than average due to technological progress, public support, and changing demographics. As a result, many health occupations are expected to grow much faster than average. Registered nurses, because of their number and anticipated rapid growth, will be among the occupations providng the most new jobs through the year 2000. Opportunities should also be good for physical, occupational, and recreation therapists as demand increases for therapeutic and mental health services.

Writers, artists and entertainers. These workers write books, magazine articles, news reports, press releases, and fiction; conduct public relations campaigns; use cameras to portray people, places, and events; design products, advertisements, and publications; create and perform artistic works; and entertain others.

The continued importance of advertising, public relations, print and broadcast communications, and entertainment should result in faster than average overall growth for these workers. However, stiff competition for jobs can be expected because these occupations attract more applicants than there are openings. Talent, personal drive, and luck will play important roles in determining professional success. Within individual occupations, some specialties will offer better job prospects than others. For example, those interested in writing will have better opportunities as technical writers than as newspaper reporters.

Technician occupations. This group includes engineering technicians, science technicians, computer programmers, tool programmers, air traffic controllers, legal assistants, broadcast technicians, and library technicians. Workers in this group operate and program technical equipment and assist engineers, scientists, health practitioners, and other professional workers.

Changes in technology will increase demand for workers in some of these occupations while decreasing it for others. Overall employment is expected to grow as fast as average. However, this group contains the single fastest growing occupation -- legal assistants; its growth will result from increased demand for legal services. The employment of computer programmers will also continue to grow rapidly, as more and more organizations use computers.

Employment growth in some other occupations in this group will be limited. For example, increased use of computer-aided design should increase the productivity of drafters and offset rising demand for drafting services, resulting in little change in employment. Similarly, growth of some health technician occupations will only be average, despite the very substantial growth in the amount of work to be performed, because of technological advances in health care.

Marketing and sales occupations. Workers in this group sell goods and services, purchase commodities and property for resale, and stimulate interest on the part of the buying public. Employment is expected to grow faster than average because of the expansion of the real estate industry and increased demand for financial, travel, and other services.

A large number of part-time and full-time positions are expected for cashiers and retail trade sales workers due to their large number and high turnover as well as employment growth. Higher paying sales occupations, such as securities and financial services sales workers, tend to be more competitive than retail sales occupations. Well-trained, personable, and ambitious people who enjoy selling will have the best chance for success.

Administrative support occupations, including clerica. Workers in this group prepare and record memos, letters, and reports, collect accounts, gather and distribute information, operate office machines, and handle other administrative tasks.

Overall employment in these occupations is expected to grow more slowly than average in response to greater automation. However, the impact of automation on individual occupations varies widely. Computer operators will grow much faster than average due to the increased use of computer systems throughout the economy. In contrast, increased automation will limit employment growth in some administrative clerks, data entry keyers, bookkeepers, and file clerks. Automation does not affect all occupations; receptionists and information clerks, for example, are expected to experience much faster than average growth because they are concentrated in fast-growing industries and their job duties are not easily automated.

Because many administrative support occupations are large and have relatively high turnover, opportunities should be plentiful for full- and part-time job positions, even in slow-growing occupations.

Service occupations. This group includes a wide range of workers in protective, food and beverage preparation, health, and personal and cleaning services. These occupations are expected to grow faster than average because a growing population and economy, combined with higher incomes and increased leisure time, will spur demand for all types of services.

Among the protective service occupations, guards are expected to increase much faster than average because of growing concern over crime and vandalism. As the number of prisoners increases, more correction officers will also be needed. However, the anticipated slow growth of local government spending is expected to produce only average employment growth for police officers and firefighters.

Rising incomes, increased leisure, and the growing number of people who combine family responsibilities with a job are expected to contribute to much faster than average growth among food and beverage preparation service occupations. Due to the large size and high turnover, as well as the growth of many food service occupations -- such as bartender and waiter and waitress -- both full- and part-time jobs will be plentiful.

Growth in personal service and cleaning occupations will vary widely. For example, changing consumer preferences should result in little change in the employment of barbers, while cosmetologists will continue to grow in number.

Of the health services occupations, medical assistant, dental assistant, and nursing aide will be among the fastest growing in the economy.

Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and related occupations. Workers in these occupations cultivate plants, breed and raise animals, and catch fish. Although demand for food, fiber, and wood is expected to increase as the world's population grows, the use of more productive farming and forestry methods and the consolidation of smaller farms are expected to result in declining employment in the majority of these occupations. However, the increased size and complexity of farms will requrie more technically skilled workers to manage them, leading to faster than average growth for farm managers.

Mechanics, installers, and repairers, Workers in this group adjustment, maintain, and repair automobiles, industrial equipment, computers, and many other types of machinery. Average growth is expected in these occupations due to the continued importance of mechanical and electronic equipment throughout the economy. In some, employment will increase faster than average. The increased use of computers and advanced office machinery, for example, will make data processing equipment repairers one of the fastest growing occupations. For others -- such as automotive mechanics -- better automotive design and construction will lower maintenance requirements and limit employment growth.

Construction trades and extractive occupations. Workers in this group construction, alter, and maintain buildings and other structures or operate drilling and mining equipment. Although over-all employment for this group is expected to grow as fast as average, construction occupations will grow faster than extractive occupations. Increases in the number of households and industrial plants are expected to lead to more construction. Alternation and modernization of existing structures, as well as the need for maintenance and repair on highway systems, dams, and bridges will also contribute to increased construction activity. In contrast, continued stagnation in the oil and gas industries and low growth in demand for coal, metal, and other materials will result in little change in the employment of extractive workers.

Because the construction industry is sensitive to changes in the Nation's economy, employment in construction occupations fluctuates from year to year. Many construction workers experience periods of unemployment during downturns in construction activity.

Production occupations. These workers perform tasks involved in the production of goods. They set up, adjust, operate, and tend machinery and use handtools and hand-held power tools to fabricate and assemble products. Changes in production techniques and the increased use of automated machinery, combined with little or no growth in many of the industries that employ these workers, will result in little change or slight declines in employment. For a few, however, employment growth is expected. Plastic-working machine operators, for example, are projected to grow faster than average as plastics are increasingly substituted for metal in many durable and nondurable goods. Meanwhile, expansion of the printing and publishing industry will create average growth for printing press operators.

Many production occupations are sensitive to fluctuations in the business cycle and competition from imports. When factory orders decline, workers face shortened workweeks, layoffs, and plant closings.

Transportation and material moving occupations. Workers in this group operate the equipment used to move people and materials. Although overall employment is expected to grow slower than average, prospects vary by occupation. Rapid growth in the airline industry is expected to result in faster than average growth for aircraft pilots and flight engineers. Average growth is expected for truckdrivers and busdrivers, as rising levels of economic activity increase the need for transport services. Increased use of automated material handling systems, however, is expected to result in a decline in employment for material moving equipment operators.

Handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers. Workers in these occupations assists skilled workers and perform routine tasks as required. As more and more routine tasks are automated, employment is projected to grow more slowly than average. Yet many opportunities will arise from the need to replace workers who leave these occupations, in most of which turnover is very high. However, one should note that economic downturns may substantially lower the number of openings. This is particularly true for construction laborers and other workings in industries that are sensitive to changes in the economy.

Beyond the "Brief"

"The Job Outlook in "Brief" should only be a starting point for your exploration of careers. It provides outlook information in a format that allows you to compare job prospects in different fields easily; but employment prospects should never be the sole reason for choosing a career. Matching your goals and abilities to the work done on the job and the education required is an important part of choosing a career. Where you want to live and how much money you want to earn are also important. Besides the information in the "Brief," therefore, you may want more detailed occupational information or information about other occupations.

A major source of career guidance information is the 1988-89 Occupational Outlook Handbook; it contains more detailed outlook information on each of the occupations presented in the "Brief," as well as information about the nature of the work, qualifications, average earnings, and other subjects.

Occupational projections and Training Data, 1988 edition, is a statistical supplement to the Handbook; it contains current and projected employment estimates for about 500 occupations. It also presents information of occupational separation rates, unemployment rates, and the demographic characteristics of workers when such information is available. Both the Handbook and Occupational Projections and Training Data are available from the U.S. Government Printing Office of the Bureau of Labor Statistics regional states center -- their addresses are listed on the inside front cover of this magazine. In addition, copies usually are available in libraries and the offices of school guidance counselors and employment counselors.

Addition information on job growth is also available from State public employment service or Job Service centers. The outlook for any occupation may vary considerably among local job markets. For example, sections of the country that have slow population growth may have less need for elementary school teachers than regions that have high growth. State employment service and Job Service offices, which are listed in the State government section of local telephone directories, provide information on local labor market conditions.
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Author:White, Martha C.
Publication:Occupational Outlook Quarterly
Date:Mar 22, 1988
Words:3680
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