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(December 11, 2012)

Industries and occupations related to health care, personal care and social assistance, and construction are projected to have the fastest job growth between 2010 and 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported February 1, 2012. Total employment is projected to grow by 14.3 percent over the decade, resulting in 20.5 million new jobs. Despite rapid projected growth, construction is not expected to regain all of the jobs lost during the 2007-09 recession.

The 2010-20 projections incorporate a new BLS system that depicts education, training, and related work experience typically needed for occupations. In occupations in which a masterís degree is typically needed for entry, employment is expected to grow by 21.7 percent, faster than the growth rate for any other education category. In occupations in which apprenticeship is the typical on-the-job training, employment is expected to grow by 22.5 percent, faster than for any other on-the-job training category.

This news release focuses on five areas: labor force and the macroeconomy, industry employment, occupational employment, education and training, and replacement needs.

Labor force and the macroeconomy
    -- Slower population growth and a decreasing overall labor force participation rate are expected to lead to slower civilian labor force growth from 2010 to 2020: 0.7 percent annually, compared with 0.8 percent for 2000-10, and 1.3 percent for 1990-2000. The projected 0.7 percent growth rate will lead to a civilian labor force increase of 10.5 million by 2020. (See table 1.)

    -- The baby-boom generation moves entirely into the 55-years-and-older age group by 2020, increasing that age groupís share of the labor force from 19.5 percent in 2010 to 25.2 percent in 2020. The "prime-age" working group (ages 25 to 54) is projected to drop to 63.7 percent of the 2020 labor force. The 16- to 24-year-old age group is projected to account for 11.2 percent of the labor force in 2020. (See table 1.)

    -- By 2020, the number of Hispanics in the labor force is projected to grow by 7.7 million, or 34.0 percent, and their share of the labor force is expected to increase from 14.8 percent in 2010 to 18.6 percent in 2020. The labor force shares for Asians and blacks are projected to be 5.7 and 12.0 percent, respectively, up slightly from 4.7 and 11.6 percent in 2010. (See table 1.)

    -- Gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to grow by 3.0 percent annually, consistent with slow labor force growth, the assumption of a full-employment economy in 2020, and labor productivity growth of 2.0 percent annually.
Industry employment
    -- Nonagriculture wage and salary employment, which accounts for more than 9 in 10 jobs in the economy, is projected to expand to 150.2 million by 2020, up from 130.4 million in 2010. (See table 2.)

    -- The health care and social assistance sector is projected to gain the most jobs (5.6 million), followed by professional and business services (3.8 million), and construction (1.8 million). Despite rapid growth in the construction sector, employment in 2020 is not expected to reach its pre-recessionary annual average peak of 7.7 million in 2006. (See table 2.)

    -- About 5.0 million new jobs--25 percent of all new jobs--are expected in the three detailed industries projected to add the most jobs: construction, retail trade, and offices of health practitioners. Seven of the 20 industries gaining the most jobs are in the health care and social assistance sector, and five are in the professional and business services sector. (See table 3.)

    -- The 20 detailed industries projected to lose the largest numbers of jobs are primarily in the manufacturing sector (11 industries) and the federal government (3 industries). The largest job losses are projected for the Postal Service (-182,000), federal non-defense government (-122,000), and apparel knitting mills (-92,000). (See table 4.)
Occupational employment
    -- Of the 22 major occupational groups, employment in healthcare support occupations is expected to grow most rapidly (34.5 percent), followed by personal care and services occupations (26.8 percent), and healthcare practitioners and technical occupations (25.9 percent). However, the office and administrative support occupations group, with projected slower than average growth of 10.3 percent, is expected to add the largest number of new jobs (2.3 million). (See table 5.)

    -- The four detailed occupations expected to add the most employment are registered nurses (712,000), retail salespersons (707,000), home health aides (706,000), and personal care aides (607,000). All have large employment in 2010 and are expected to grow faster than the average of 14.3 percent. (See table 6.)

    -- One-third of the projected fastest growing occupations are related to health care, reflecting expected increases in demand as the population ages and the health care and social assistance industry grows. (See table 7.)

    -- More than one-fourth of the projected fastest growing occupations are related to construction. Employment in most of these occupations, still at low levels in 2010 because of the 2007-09 recession, will recover along with the construction industry. But employment in most construction occupations is not expected to reach pre-recession levels. (See table 7.)

    -- Production occupations and office and administrative support occupations dominate the list of detailed occupations with the largest projected employment declines. However, farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers top the list, with a projected loss of 96,100 jobs. (See table 8.)
Education and training
    -- Occupations that typically need some type of postsecondary education for entry are projected to grow the fastest during the 2010-20 decade. Occupations classified as needing a masterís degree are projected to grow by 21.7 percent, followed by doctoral or professional degree occupations at 19.9 percent, and associateís degree occupations at 18.0 percent.
    (See table 9.)

    -- In terms of typical on-the-job training, occupations that typically require apprenticeships are projected to grow the fastest (22.5 percent).
    (See table 9.)

    -- Of the 30 detailed occupations projected to have the fastest employment growth, 17 typically need some type of postsecondary education for entry into the occupation.
    (See table 7.)

    -- Two-thirds of the 30 occupations projected to have the largest number of new jobs typically require less than a postsecondary education, no related work experience, and short- or moderate-term on- the-job training.
    (See table 6.)

    -- Only 3 of the 30 detailed occupations projected to have the largest employment declines are classified as needing postsecondary education for entry. (See table 8.)
Replacement needs
    -- Over the 2010-20 decade, 54.8 million total job openings are expected. (See table 9.) While growth will lead to many openings, more than half--61.6 percent--will come from the need to replace workers who retire or otherwise permanently leave an occupation.

    -- In 4 out of 5 occupations, openings due to replacement needs exceed the number due to growth. Replacement needs are expected in every occupation, even in those that are declining.

    -- More than two-thirds of all job openings are expected to be in occupations that typically do not need postsecondary education for entry. (See table 9.)

    -- Eighteen of the 30 occupations with the largest number of projected total job openings are classified as typically needing less than a postsecondary education and needing short-term on-the-job training. (See table 10.)
Interpreting the projections in light of the 2007-09 recession and recovery

The BLS projections are built on the assumption of a full employment economy in 2020. The 2007-09 recession represented a sharp downturn in the economy--and the economy, especially the labor market, has been slow to recover. As a result, the 2010-20 projections reach a robust 2020 target year largely because the 2010 base year began from a relatively low point. Rapid growth rates for some measures reflect recovery from the recession and, with some important exceptions, growth beyond recovery.

A note about labor shortages and surpluses in the context of long-term economic projections

Users of these data should not assume that the difference between the projected increase in the labor force and the projected increase in employment implies a labor shortage or surplus. The BLS projections assume labor market equilibrium, that is, one in which labor supply meets labor demand except for some degree of frictional unemployment. In addition, the employment and labor force measures use different concepts. Employment is a count of jobs, and one person may hold more than one job. Labor force is a count of people, and a person is counted only once regardless of how many jobs he or she holds. For a discussion of the basic projections methodology, see "Overview of projections to 2020," Dixie Sommers and James C. Franklin, January 2012 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. (Entire article.)

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