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The 1990-91 job outlook in brief.

The 1990-91 Job Outlook in Brief

World economy. Global marketplace. International competitiveness. These terms and the economic changes they represent cause anxiety in many people. They hear about jobs being lost to workers in other countries and wonder how these changes will affect them and their children. 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, professionals, service workers, administrators and managers, and marketing and sales workers. On average, an occupation that has 100 workers today will have 115 in the year 2000.

The number and kinds of workers needed in different occupations depend on the interplay of demographic, economic, social, and technological factors. The Bureau 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 250 occupations.

Information in the "Brief"

The "Brief" provides thumbnail sketches of employment data for each of the occupations in the 1990-91 edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook, on which it is based. Each entry presents the occupation's title, 1988 employment, the percent change projected in employment between 1988 and 2000, the projected numerical change, and a summary of job prospects. The occupations are grouped in the following 12 clusters:

* Executive, administrative, and managerial occupations.

* Professional specialty occupations.

* Technicians and related support 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 material moving occupations.

* Handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers.

(An index of individual occupations appears on page 46.)

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 assumptions used in making the projections, and give an overview of the employment outlook for each of the 12 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 decade or so, 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 goods are produced and services are provided. In fact, some changes in technology and business practice cause employment to decline. For example, even though the volume of paperwork to be processed is expected to continue to increase rapidly, 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 low-, moderate,- 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 uncertainty. The different scenarios represent only three of many possible courses for the conomy; 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, unforeseen 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 them -- along with some of the projections -- is presented in "Outlook 2000: The Major Trends," the first article in this issue. The fall 1989 issue of the Occupational Outlook Quarterly contains numerous charts that illustrate these projections; a series of articles in the November 1989 issue of the Monthly Labor Review presents detailed projections for the labor force, gross national product (GNP), industries, and occupations.

Employment Through the Year 2000

Between 1988 and 2000, over 18 million new jobs will be added to the economy. Employment will rise from 118 million to 136 million; this represents an average growth for all occupations of 15 percent. This section looks at the 12 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 15 to 45 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 Phrases in the Brief," explains the phrases used. In addition, the descriptions of 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 openings 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.

Executive, administrative, and managerial occupations. Workers in executive, administrative, and managerial occupations establish policies, make plans, determine staffing requirements, 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 organizational activities 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 the rate of expansion for individual industries will produce varying rates of employment change for particular kinds of managers and related workers. For example, managers and administrators should experience faster than average growth in retail trade and in the services industry division, especially business services. In contrast, those working in government are likely to face average or slower than average growth. The expansion of employment agencies and temporary help firms should result in much faster than average growth for employment interviewers.

Due to growth in the number of people seeking executive, administrative, and managerial positions and the increasing technical requirements in many of these occupations, experience, specialized training, or postbaccalaureate study will increasingly be required. Familiarity with computers will also be helpful as more managers rely on computerized information systems to direct their organizations.

Professional specialty occupations. This group includes engineers; architects and surveyors; computer, mathematical, and operations research occupations; life scientists; physical scientists; lawyers and judges; social scientists and urban planners; social and recreation workers; religious workers; teachers, librarians, and counselors; health diagnosing, assessment, and treating occupations; communication occupations; visual arts occupations; and performing arts occupations. Professional workers may provide services or conduct research. They are found in almost every industry.

This major group as a whole is expected to continue to grow faster than average. However, growth rates for individual occupations are as diverse as the jobs they perform. Physical therapists, operations research analysts, actuaries, and computer systems analysts are expected to grow much faster than average. On the other hand, college and university faculty; mining, nuclear, and petroleum engineers; librarians; and musicians should grow more slowly than average.

Technicians and related support occupations. This major group includes health technologists and technicians, engineering technicians, science technicians, computer programmers, tool programmers, aircraft pilots, air traffic controllers, paralegals, 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, new ways of conducting business, and other factors will contribute to increased demand for workers in some of these occupations and reduced demand for those in others. Overall employment is expected to grow faster than in any other major occupational group. This group contains the fastest growing occupation -- paralegals; its growth will result from rising demand for legal services coupled with the increasing importance of these workers to lawyers. Increased demand for health services from a growing and aging population will spur employment growth for radiologic technologists, medical record technicians, surgical technologists, and EEG technologists. In fact, jobs for health technologists and technicians are expected to account for almost half of all new technician jobs. Employment of computer programmers also will continue to grow rapidly, as more and more organizations use computers.

Employment growth in other occupations in this group will be limited. For example, employment of broadcasting technicians should decline because of laborsaving technological advances. Similarly, library technicians will grow more slowly than average due to limited growth of industries where these workers are concentrated.

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 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.

Administrative support occupations, including clerical. 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.

This occupational group will continue to employ the largest number of workers. Overall employment growth in these occupations is expected to be in the average range, despite the tremendous increase expected in the volume of clerical tasks to be done. For example, increased automation will limit employment growth in many clerical occupations, such as typists, word processors, and data entry keyers; telephone operators; order clerks; and statistical clerks. Not all clerical occupations are being hurt by automation, however. Computer operators will grow faster than average due to the increased use of computer systems throughout the economy. Receptionists and information clerks are expected to experience much faster than average growth, while hotel desk clerks will grow faster than average because these occupations 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 positions, even in slow-growing occupations.

Service occupations. This group includes a wide range of workers in food and beverage preparation and in protective, health, 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 slower than average growth for 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 -- 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, the second fastest growing occupation in the economy, and nursing and psychiatric aides will grow faster than average.

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 small farms are expected to result in declining employment in the majority of these occupations.

Mechanics, installers, and repairers. Workers in this group adjust, maintain, and repair automobiles, industrial equipment, computers, and many other types of machinery. Average overall growth is expected due to the continued importance of mechanical and electronic equipment throughout the economy, but there will be considerable variation by occupation. For example, prewired buildings and plug-in telephones will result in a decline in the employment of telephone installers and repairers. On the other hand, computer and office machine repairers should increase faster than average in response to increased use of these types of machines.

Construction trades and extractive occupations. Workers in this group construct, alter, and maintain buildings and other structures or operate drilling and mining equipment. Although overall employment for this group is expected to grow as fast as average, construction occupations will grow faster than extractive occupations. An increase in the number of households and industrial plants is expected to lead to more construction. Alteration 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 occupations, 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 products. 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 about as fast as average, prospects vary by occupation. 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 slower than average growth in employment for material moving equipment operators. Both the water and railroad transportation industries will experience a decline in employment as technological advances increase productivity.

Handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers. Workers in these occupations assist skilled workers and perform routine tasks as required. As more and more routine tasks are automated, little change in employment is expected. 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 workers in industries that are especially sensitive to changes in the economy.

Beyond the "Brief"

The "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 1990-91 edition of the 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, 1990 edition, is a statistical supplement to the Handbook; it contains current and projected employment estimates for about 500 occupations. It also presents information on 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 Bureau of Labor Statistics Publication Sales Center, P.O. Box 2145, Chicago, IL 60690, or the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402. Payment by check, money order, VISA, MasterCard, or GPO deposit account must accompany your order. Make check or money order payable to the Superintendent of Documents. In addition, copies usually are available libraries and the offices of school guidance counselors and employment counselors.

Additional information on job growth is also available from State 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 have less need for elementary school teachers than regions that have high growth. State Job Service offices, which are listed in the State government section of local telephone directories, provide information on local labor market conditions.

Shelley J. Davis is an economist in the Office of Employment Projections, BLS.
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Title Annotation:Outlook 2000; includes index to occupations
Author:Davis, Shelley J.
Publication:Occupational Outlook Quarterly
Date:Mar 22, 1990
Previous Article:The major trends.
Next Article:Beyond your paycheck: an employee benefits primer.

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