Printer Friendly

The job outlook in brief.

What will the jobs of tomorrow be? How many workers will be needed to repair robots or program computers? Will bookkeepers and assembly-line workers disappear? The answers to these questions are hard to come by. They can also be misleading. For example, concentrating on emerging occupations or even the fastest growing ones gives only a partial picture of the jobs that will be available in the future. Tomorrow's economy, like today's, will require workers in many different occupations. The number and kinds of workers needed will depend on the interplay of demographic, economic, social, and technological factors. By analyzing the changing nature of the economy and the factors that cause these changes, the Bureau of Labor Statistics develops projections of future demand for many occupations. The Bureau's latest information for almost 200 occupations is presented here.

The "job Outlook in Brief" presents the following information:

* The number of workers employed,

* the change in employment projected to occur between 1982 and 1995,

* and, when possible, the prospects for finding jobs.

The information in the "Brief"--which is revised every 2 years--is meant to help counselors and students and others preparing for careers. While job outlook information is only one factor jobseekers need to consider when looking at occupations, it can help them prepare for the conditions they will face when seeking employment.

Before checking out individual 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, give an overview of the employment outlook through the mid-1990's in each of 16 occupational groups, and describe the content and organization of the "Brief."

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 contributed to large increases in the number of systems analysts, programmers, and computer operators. 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 can cause employment to decline. During the 1970's, improvements in methods of entering data into computers, for example, resulted in a drop in the number of keypunch operators despite the rapid growth of computer usage.

Growth of employment in an occupation usually follows the growth of industries in which the occupation is concentrated. During the 1970's, the employment of nurses increased nearly three times as fast as the employment of plumbers and pipefitters. In large part this occurred because most nurses are employed in the rapidly growing health services industry while most plumbers and pipefitters are employed in the slower growing construction industry.

Using information on the demand for goods and services, advances in technology, changes in business practices, and occupational composition of industries, economists at BLS have estimated the number of workers that will be employed in 1995 by occupation. To make these estimates, they had to make some assumptions about the future. By varying assumptions about growth of the labor force, output, productivity, inflation, and unemployment, the Bureau has developed three different pictures of the economy in 1995. Referred to as the low growth, moderate growth, and high growth scenarios, each provides a different 1995 employment estimate for most occupations.

It should be noted that the scenarios represent only three of many possible courses for the economy. Different assumptions would lead to different projections. For this reason, the scenarios should not be viewed as the bounds of employment growth. Rather, they illustrate what might happen under different assumptions about future economic conditions. Furthermore, unforeseen changes in technology or in spending patterns for defense or health care, for example, could radically alter the projections for individual occupations. It also should be noted that the outlook for any occupation varies considerably among local job markets. For example, sections of the country that have slow population growth will usually have less need for elementary school teachers than regions that have high growth. Information on conditions in different areas may be available from local Job Service Centers.

For ease of presentation, all data in the "Brief" come from the moderate growth scenario. This scenario is characterized by a period of recovery from the 1981-82 recession followed by stable economic growth through the mic-1990's. More information about the assumptions underlying the projections and the methods used to develop the projections--along with some of the actual projections--appears in "The Economy in 1995," which appears elsewhere in this issue of the Occupational Outlook Quarterly. A series of articles in the November 1983 issue of the Monthly Labor Review presents even greater detail on these subjects.

Employment trends for 16 groups of occupations are discussed below. However, within each of the 16 groups, the employment prospects in individual occupations will differ. Consequently, it is important to check the outlook for each occupation that interests you. While the "Brief" contains information for only the 190 or so occupations described in detail in the 1984-85 edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook, current and projected employment estimates for many more occupations--nearly 700 in all--are available from the BLS Industry-Occupation Employment Matrix and will be presented in the 1984 edition of Occupational Projections and Training Data, BLS Bulletin 2206, a companion to the Handbook scheduled for publication in May 1984.

In addition, employment growth is only one source of job openings. Another is replacement needs. When workers leave the labor force or change occupations, they create openings in their old occupations. Because of replacement needs, many large, slow-growing occupations actually have many job opportunities. More information about occupational replacement needs is available in Occupational Projections and Training Data. Employment Through 1995

Through the mid-1990's, employment is expected to increase in almost all occupations. Between 1982 and 1995, total employment is expected to rise from 101.5 million to 127.1 million or about 25 percent; this is the rate of growth against which occupations are compared throughout this article. The following examination of 16 broad groups of occupations gives an overview of employment opportunities through the mid-1990's. The groups are based on the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. The half dozen phrases used to describe employment growth are explained in the box, "Key Words in the Brief."

Administrative and managerial occupations. Workers in these occupations direct and control the activities of businesses, government agencies, and other organizations, or provide technical support to workers who do. In most of these occupations, employment is expected to increase about as fast as the average for all occupations. Although managers and administrators are employed throughout the economy, differences in industry expansion will result in different employment growth among industries. Employment of managers in the health industry, for example, is expected to increase much faster than the average due to the growth of the industry and the emergence of new types of health service organizations, such as group medical practices and surgical centers. Employment growth also should be as fast as or faster than average in electronic components manufacturing, data processing services, credit and securities firms, automotive repairs, and social services. In contrast, managerial employment in government and educational services is likely to grow more slowly than average due to the modest growth anticipated for these industries.

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

Engineers, scientists, and related occupations. Workers in these occupations design buildings, machinery, products, and systems, conduct research, and perform related activities. Employment in many of the occupations in this group is expected to increase faster than the average; in several--electronic engineers, mechanical engineers, systems analysts--it will increase much faster than the average.

Increased military expenditures, growing demand for computers and other electronic equipment, expansion and automation of industrial production, and development of energy sources are some of the factors expected to lead to higher employment in engineering occupations. The growing application of computers in business and research will contribute to increased employment of systems analysts. Research to expand basic knowledge, develop new technologies and products, and protect the environment is expected to lead to higher employment in many scientific and engineering occupations. However, competition in some smaller occupations that are dependent on government funding, such as astronomer, will continue to be keen. And, if the rate of economic growth and actual research and development levels differ from those assumed, the job outlook in many of these occupations would be altered.

Social science, social service, and related occupations. In these occupations, workers provide direct social services and conduct applied research into the behavior of individuals, groups, and society at large. Employment in many of the occupations in the group is expected to grow about as fast as the average. However, due to the number of people interested in these fields, competition for jobs is expected in many social science occupations--especially for academic positions. Generally, prospects will be better for social scientists with advanced degrees who seek work in applied fields.

Competition also is likely for jobs as social and recreation workers in public and voluntary agencies as well as for salaried positions for lawyers due to the number of people likely to pursue careers in those fields.

Teachers, librarians, and counselors. Workers in these occupations help people learn, acquire information, or gain insight into themselves. Because of anticipated enrollment declines and an abundance of qualified jobseekers, competition is expected for jobs in college and university teaching, librarianship, and counseling. Staff cutbacks is school systems and social service agencies will intensify competition for jobs.

Job prospects for elementary school teachers are expected to be more favorable than in recent years because school enrollments should start increasing after 1985. Through 1990, competition is expected for jobs in secondary schools. After 1990, job prospects in secondary teaching may improve as enrollments in these schools begin to increase. Teachers and librarians in scientific and technical fields generally will face better job prospects throughout the next decade.

Health-related occupations. This group includes health practitioners, nurses, health technicians and technologists, health service workers, dietitians, pharmacists, and therapists. Workers in these occupations care for the sick, help the disabled, and advise individuals and communities on ways of maintaining and improving their health.

Employment in most of the health occupations is expected to grow faster than the average as population growth --especially the growth in the number of older people--increases the demand for health care. Registered nurses and nursing aides and orderlies, because of their number and anticipated growth, will be among the occupations providing the most new jobs through the mid-1990's. Despite the anticipated 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 those fields each year.

It should be noted that the projections are based on the assumption that past trends in expenditures for health care will continue and that the ways used to pay for health care (principally private and public insurance plans) will not undergo drastic change. However, current efforts to control health costs may result in substantial changes in the reimbursement procedures, directly

affecting economic incentives to suppliers of health care. Such changes could lower the projected employment levels in many health occupations.

Writers, artists, and entertainers. This group includes reporters, writers, designers, public relations specialists, and performing artists. In most of the occupations in this group, employment is expected to increase as fast as the average for all occupations. The continued importance of advertising, public relations, print and broadcast communications, and entertainment will spur the growth of these occupations.

Stiff competition for jobs in these occupations is likely, due to the large numbers of people they attract; talent, personal drive, and luck will continue to play an extremely important role in succeeding in these occupations. Within individual occupations, some areas will offer better job prospects. The best prospects for writers and editors will be in technical and business writing.

Technologists and technicians. Workers in this group provide technical assistance to engineers, scientists, and other professional workers as well as operate and program technical equipment independently. The continued growth in the importance of technology to national defense, office work, manufacturing, and other activities is expected to cause much faster than average employment growth for several occupations in this group, such as legal assistants, programmers, and electrical and electronic technicians. Legal assistants and programmers are two of the fastest growing occupations.

Employment growth in some of the occupations will be limited by changes in technology. Little or no change in employment of drafters is expected because of the increasing use of computer-aided design equipment. Similarly, little or no change in employment of air traffic controllers is expected due to the automation of air traffic control equipment.

Marketing and sales occupations. Workers in this group of occupations sell goods and services. Employment of travel agents, securities sales workers, real estate agents, and wholesale trade sales workers is expected to grow faster than the average due to the anticipated growth of the travel, securities, real estate, and wholesale trade industries.

A large number of part-time and full-time job openings are expected for cashiers and retail trade sales workers due to their number, high turnover, and employment growth. Higher paying sales occupations, such as insurance agent and real estate agent, tend to be more competitive than retail sales occupations. Well-trained and ambitious people who enjoy selling will have the best chance for success in the smaller 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 in businesses, government agencies, and other organizations. Some administrative support occupations will grow much faster than the average. Computer operators and peripheral equipment operators, for example, will be among the fastest growing occupations due to the increased use of computer systems.

Several occupations in this group will have many full- and part-time job openings due to their large size and high turnover. These include bank tellers, bookkeepers and accounting clerks, secretaries, shipping and receiving clerks, and typists.

The increased use of office automation systems, on the other hand, will limit employment growth in some administrative support occupations. Employment of typists, for example, is expected to grow more slowly that the average. Changes in organizational practices will also affect employment growth for some of the occupations in this group. Despite a growing volume of mail, little change is expected in the employment of mail carriers because of improved routing programs and more centralized mail delivery.

Service occupations. This group includes a wide range of workers in protective, food and beverage preparation, cleaning, and personal services. Among the protective service occupations, guards are expected to increase faster than average because of growing concern over crime and vandalism. However, the anticipated slow growth of local government spending is expected to result in slower than average employment growth for police officers and firefighters.

Rising incomes, increased leisure, and the growing number of men and women who combine family responsibilities and a job are expected to contribute to faster than average employment growth among food and beverage preparation service occupations. Due to the large size, high turnover, and growth of many food service occupations--such as bartenders and waiters and waitresses--full- and part-time job openings will be plentiful.

Agricultural and forestry occupations. Workers in these occupations produce goods that meet the country's needs for food, clothing, and shelter. Although demand for food, fiber, and wood is expected to increase as the world's population grows, the development and use of more productive farming and forestry methods are expected to result in declining employment in most agricultural and forestry occupations.

Mechanics and repairers. Workers in this group of occupations adjust, maintain, and repair automobiles, industrial equipment, computers, and many other types of machinery. Employment in most of the occupations in this group is expected to grow about as fast as the average due to the continued importance of machines in industries and homes. In some, employment with increase faster than the average. The increased use of computers and advanced office machinery, for example, will make computer service technicians and office machine repairers two of the fastest growing occupations. For some mechanic and repairer occupations, such as communication equipment mechanics, improvements in machinery will lower maintenance requirements and limit employment growth.

Construction occupations. Workers in this group construct, alter, and maintain buildings and other structures. Employment in most of the occupations in this group is expected to grow faster than the average. Some of this growth, however, reflects a rebounding of employment to levels that existed before the 1981-82 recession. Increases in the population and the number of households and a rise in spending for new industrial plants are expected to lead to more new construction. Alteration and modernization of existing structures, as well as the need for maintenance and repair on highway systems, dams, and bridges also will contribute to increased construction activity.

Continued technological developments in construction methods, equipment, and materials will limit employment growth by raising the productivity of workers. One important development, for example, is continued growth in the use of prefabricated materials. The use of these materials limits the number of workers needed at the construction site.

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

Production occupations. Workers in this group of occupations perform tasks involved in the production of goods. They set up, adjust, operate, and tend machinery and equipment, and use handtools and hand-held power tools to fabricate and assemble products.

The recovery of the manufacturing industry from the 1981-82 recession and the growth projected for this sector through the mid-1990's will result in average employment growth in many production occupations. For some, such as patternmaker and job and die setter, most of the employment growth reflects a rebounding of employment to prerecession levels. Changes in production techniques and the increased use of automated machinery, such as robots, will prevent employment in some production occupations from rising as rapidly as the output of goods.

Many production occupations are sensitive to fluctations in the business cycle. As factory orders decline during economic downturns, workers may face shortened workweeks, layoffs, and plant closings.

Transportation occupations. Workers in this group operate the equipment used to move people and materials. Rising levels of economic activity will increase the need for transport services. This increase in demand is expected to result in average employment growth for truckdrivers and airplane pilots. Increased use of automated material handling systems, however, is expected to cause slower than average employment growth for industrial truck operators.

Handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers. Workers in the occupations in this group assist skilled workers and perform routine tasks required to complete a project. Jobs in these occupations generally are expected to be plentiful due to the high turnover rate. However, economic downturns can substantially lower the number of openings. This is particularly true for construction laborers and other workers in industries that are sensitive to changes in the Nation's economy. Over the long run, as routine tasks are mechanized, employment in these occupations is expected to grow more slowly that the average. Information in the "Brief"

The "Brief" has five columns. The first gives the occupation's title and the second the estimated employment in 1982. The third and fourth contain the percent and absolute change in employment projected between 1982 and 1995 according to the moderate scenario. The fifth, "Employment Prospects," summarizes job prospects for the occupation. As mentioned earlier, the growth of individual occupations is compared to the national average using half a dozen phrases. These phrases are explained in the box, "Key Words in the Brief."

The prospects for getting the job depend not only on the number of openings but also on the number of people looking for that kind of job. The words and phrases used in "Employment Prospects" to describe the amount of competition that jobseekers are likely to encounter are also defined in the box, "Key Words in the Brief." Assessing the degree of competition in occupations is difficult. For occupations with lengthy training and strict entry requirements, it can be done with some accuracy. But, for most occupations, requirements are flexible and entry is possible through several routes. In such cases, it is difficult to measure the potential supply of workers and it is not meaningful to talk about shortages and surpluses.

Like the Occupational Outlook Handbook on which it is based, the "Brief" is arranged in the following clusters of related jobs:

* Administrative and managerial;

* engineers, surveyors, and architects;

* natural scientists and mathematicians;

* social scientists, social workers, religious workers, and lawyers;

* teachers, librarians, and counselors;

* health practitioners;

* registered nurses, pharmacists, dietitians, therapists, and physicians' assistants;

* health technologists and technicians;

* writers, artists, and entertainers;

* technologists and technicians, expect health;

* marketing and sales;

* administrative support, including clerical;

* service;

* mechanics and repairers;

* construction;

* production;

* transportation and material moving; and

* helpers, handlers, equipment cleaners, and laborers.

(An index appears on page 25.)

The "Brief" 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 the selection process. Where you want to live and how much money you want to earn also are important. The 1984-85 Occupational Outlook Handbook provides this type of information for nearly 200 occupations. You can purchase a copy from one of the regional offices of the Bureau of Labor Statistics--their addresses are listed on the inside front cover of this magazine--or use the copies usually available in libraries and the offices of school guidance counselors and employment counselors. The Handbook costs $8.50.

Choosing a career is a difficult task. The more information you have about the world of work, the easier it will be.
COPYRIGHT 1984 U.S. Government Printing Office
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:from Bureau of Labor Statistics 'Occupational Outlook Handbook'
Author:Nardone, Tom
Publication:Occupational Outlook Quarterly
Date:Mar 22, 1984
Words:3759
Next Article:The economy in 1995.
Topics:

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters