Printer Friendly

The job outlook in brief: 1990-2005.

"If you do not think about the future, you can not have one."

Galsworthy's warning about planning for the future applies to more than Saturday night dates, crucial though that may be. It also points to the importance of considering the kind of work you want to do for a living. In today's competitive marketplace, people who have not thought about their future may not have one, or at least not a very bright one. Job seekers must be able to match their skills to the jobs available. You'll stand a better chance of having the right skills if you know which ones will be in demand. And, in order to know which skills will be demanded, you must know which occupations will be providing the most jobs. You can begin to find the answers on the following pages.

The United States economy is projected to provide 24 million more jobs in 2005 than it did in 1990, an increase of 20 percent. But the labor force will change in more ways than just its size. Changing technology and business practices, increased foreign competition, and shifts in the demand for goods and services will reshape tomorrow's workforce--creating employment opportunities for workers in hundreds of occupations and displacing workers in others.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics analyzes the interplay of demographic, economic, social, and technological trends 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 1990-2005 job outlook for about 250 occupations.

Information in the "Brief"

"The Job Outlook in Brief" provides thumbnail sketches of employment data for each occupation in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 1992-93 edition, on which it is based. Each entry presents the occupation's title, its 1990 employment, the percent change projected in employment between 1990 and 2005, 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 42.)

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, and computer repairers. 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 practices cause employment to decline. For example, even though the volume of paperwork to process is expected 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 sets of projections of the economy in 2005. 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. 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 moderate-growth projections.

Future employment growth is clouded by uncertainty. 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, 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 actual projections--is presented in "Outlook 1990-2005: Major Trends and Issues," the first article in this issue. The fall 1991 issue of Occupational Outlook Quarterly contains numerous charts that illustrate these projections; a series of articles in the November 1991 issue of the Monthly Labor Review presents detailed projections for the labor force, gross national product (GNP), industries, and occupations. "The 1990-2005 Outlook for College Graduates," which will be published in the summer 1992 issue of the Quarterly, will also be based on this set of projections."

Employment Through the Year 2005

Between 1990 and 2005, employment will rise from 123 million to 147 million. This section gives an overview of projected employment change, focusing on the 12 occupational clusters. Keep in mind that a particular occupation may not follow the trend projected for its group. Therefore, you should refer to the table on pages 12 to 41 for the outlook in a specific occupation.

Throughout this article, employment growth rates are compared to the average for all occupations; the box, "Key Phrases in the Brief," explains the terms used. The box also explains the phrases used to describe the amount of competition jobseekers are likely to encounter. Assessing the degree of competition is difficult, although for occupations with lengthy training and strict entry requirements, it can be done with some accuracy. However, since most occupations have several methods of entry and flexible requirements, the potential supply of workers is difficult to measure and talk about shortages or surpluses is not meaningful.

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 transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. As a result, even occupations with slower than average growth may offer many jobs for new workers, especially if large numbers of people work in them.

Executive, administrative, and managerial occupations.

Workers in executive, administrative, and managerial occupations establish policies, make plans, determine staffing requirements, and direct the activities of business, government agencies, and other organizations. Workers in management support occupations, such as employment interviewers or cost estimators, provide technical assistance 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. Because 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 support workers. For example, managers and administrators should experience faster than average growth in the services industry division, especially business services and engineering and management services. In contrast, those working in government are likely to face average or slower than average growth. Also, many businesses will restructure operations to reduce administrative costs and employ fewer managerial workers.

Due to growth in the number of people seeking these positions and increasingly technical requirements, jobseekers with work experience, specialized training, or graduate study will have an advantage in competition for jobs. Familiarity with computers will continue to be helpful as more managers rely on computerized information systems to help direct their organizations.

Professional specialty occupations.

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

This major group as a whole is expected to continue to grow faster than average and to increase its share of total employment significantly by 2005. However, growth rates for individual occupations are as diverse as the jobs these workers perform. For example, physical therapists, human services workers, operations research analysts and computer systems analysts are expected to grow much faster than average. On the other hand, physicists and astronomers; mining, nuclear, and petroleum engineers; librarians; and musicians should grow more slowly than average. Most new jobs will be in education and health services.

Technicians and related support occupations.

This major group includes health technologists and technicians, engineering and 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, demographics, and ways of conducting business will contribute to faster employment growth in some of these occupations than in others. Overall employment is expected to grow faster than for any other major occupational group. This group contains one of the fastest growing occupations--paralegals; its growth will result in part from the increasing reliance of lawyers on these workers. Increased demand for health services from a growing and aging population will spur employment growth for radiologic technologists, medical record technicians, surgical technologists, and electroencephalographic technologists. In fact, jobs for health technologists and technicians are expected to account for almost half of all the jobs in this group. The employment of computer programmers will also continue to grow rapidly, as more organizations use computers and the number of computer applications increases.

Employment growth in other occupations in this group will be limited. For example, because of laborsaving technological advances, employment of broadcast technicians should show little change and employment of air traffic controllers should grow more slowly than average. Similarly, library technicians will grow more slowly than average, following the growth pattern of other library workers.

Marketing and sales occupations.

Workers in this group sell goods and services, purchase commodities and property for resale, and stimulate consumer interest. Employment is expected to grow as fast as average because of the increased demand for financial, travel, and other services. However, the rate of growth should be slower than over the previous 15 years because these workers are concentrated in wholesale and retail trade, industries which will grow more slowly than in the past.

A large number of part-time and full-time positions are expected to be available for cashiers and retail trade sales workers due to the large size of these occupations 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. Job opportunities will be best for well-trained, personable, and ambitious people who enjoy selling.

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, but overall employment growth is expected to be slower than average. As a result, these occupations will decline as a proportion of total employment by 2005. Despite the tremendous increase expected in the volume of clerical tasks to be done, increased automation and other technological changes will limit employment growth in many clerical occupations, such as typists, word processors, and data entry keyers; bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerk; and telephone operators. In contrast, teacher aides and hotel desk clerks should grow faster than average, and receptionists and information clerks is expected to experience much faster than average growth, because these occupations are concentrated in rapidly growing industries.

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

Service occupations.

This group includes a wide range of workers in protective services, food and beverage preparation, health services, and personal and cleaning services. These occupations are expected to grow faster than average because a growing population and economy, combined with higher personal incomes and increased leisure time, will spur demand for many different types of services. This group is projected to add the largest number of jobs of any occupational group by 2005.

Among protective service occupations, guards is expected to increase faster than average because of growing concern over crime and vandalism. As the number of prisoners and correctional facilities 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 fire fighters.

Employment growth will also be faster than average for food and beverage preparation and service occupations. Due to the large size, high turnover, and fast growth of many food service occupations--such as chefs, cooks, and other kitchen workers--both full- and part-time jobs will be plentiful.

Growth in personal service and cleaning occupations will vary widely. For example, while homemaker-home health aides should be the fastest growing occupation--in part because of the substantial increase in the elderly population--private household workers will grow slowly due to the shift from home to institutional child care.

Among health services occupations, medical assistants--one of the fastest growing occupations in the economy--and nursing and psychiatric aides will grow much faster than average, in response to the aging population and expanding health care industry.

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 little or no employment change in most of these occupations. The employment of farm operators and farm workers is expected to decline rapidly, reflecting greater productivity; the need for skilled farm managers, on the other hand, should result in employment growth about as fast as average for that occupation.

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 projections vary by occupation. For example, computer and office machine repairers is expected to be one of the fastest growing occupations in this group, reflecting the increased use of these types of machines. In sharp contrast, communications equipment mechanics, installers, and repairers and telephone installers and repairers are expected to decline in employment due to laborsaving advances.

Construction trades and extractive occupations.

Workers in this group construct, alter, and maintain buildings and other structures or operate drilling and mining equipment. Virtually all of the new jobs will be in construction. An increase in the number of households and industrial plants, the desire to alter or modernize existing structures, and the need to maintain and repair highways, dams, and bridges will result in average employment growth in construction. In contrast, continued stagnation in the oil and gas industries and low growth in demand for coal, metal, and other minerals 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 become unemployed during downturns in construction activity.

Production occupations.

These workers set up, adjust, operate, and tend machinery and use handtools and hand-held power tools to make goods and assemble products. Increases in imports, overseas production, and automation--including robotics and advanced computer techniques--will result in little change or slight declines in overall employment. For a few occupations, however, employment growth is expected. Plastics-working machine operators, for example, is projected to grow as fast as the average because plastics are increasingly substituted for metal in many goods. Also, expansion of the printing and publishing industry will create average growth for prepress workers and 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 work-weeks, 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. Faster than average growth is expected for busdrivers, and average growth is expected for truckdrivers. These projections reflect rising school enrollments and growing demand for transportation services. However, slower than average growth is expected in the employment of material moving equipment operators because of the increased use of automated material handling systems. 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. Because more of these tasks are being automated, employment is expected to increase more slowly than average. Many opportunities will arise from the need to replace workers who leave these occupations, because turnover is very high. However, economic downturns may substantially lower the number of openings. This is particularly true for construction laborers and other occupations in industries that are highly sensitive to changes in the economy.

Beyond the "Brief"

"The Job Outlook in Brief" is only a starting point for your exploration of careers. Although it provides outlook information in a format that allows easy comparison of job prospects in different fields, employment prospects are not the only consideration when choosing a certain career. Matching your goals and abilities to the work done on the job and the education required is another important part of choosing a career. Where you want to live and how much money you want to earn also are 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 1992-93 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, 1992 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 are available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Publication Sales Center, P.O. Box 2145, Chicago, IL 60690, or from New Orders, Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. The Handbook costs $23 with a paper cover, $26 with a hard cover. 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 in libraries and the offices of school guidance counselors and employment counselors.

Additional information on job growth also is available from State Job Service offices. The outlook for many occupations varies considerably among local job markets. For example, sections of the country with slow population growth may have less need for elementary school teachers than regions with high growth. State Job Service offices, listed in the State government section of local telephone directories, can provide information on local labor market conditions.
COPYRIGHT 1992 U.S. Government Printing Office
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:includes job opportunity analysis by occupation
Author:Berman, Jay A.; Cosca, Theresa A.
Publication:Occupational Outlook Quarterly
Article Type:Cover Story
Date:Mar 22, 1992
Previous Article:Outlook 1990-2005: major trends and issues.
Next Article:Matching personal and job characteristics.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters