Where Do We Go from Here? Projected Job Growth Industries and Occupations

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No single issue has consumed the hearts and minds of Americans over the last three years more than the issue of jobs and the economy. The crisis fully presented itself in 2008 with the bursting of the housing market bubble, unraveling of the financial sector, and massive economywide job losses. The following year was characterized by rapid response and deployment of resources to contain the crisis; and, in 2O1O, we finally began to see some light at the end of the tunnel as the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research announced in September 2O10 that the recession officially ended in June 20O9. In January 2O11, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that total payroll employment increased by 1.1 million jobs over the past year while private payroll employment (excludes government payroll losses) grew by 1.3 million.1 As the nation seeks to build momentum in the area of job growth and economic recovery, this report takes a look at the industries and occupations that are projected to generate the most job growth through 2018, in terms of both number of jobs and rate of growth. We then examine how wellpositioned African Americans and Hispanics are to enter these growing fields.

Every two years, BLS releases updated 10-year employment projections. The analysis in this report is based on the most recent version of that release, Employment Projections: 2008-18. In creating its projections, the BLS analyzes long-run economic trends and assumes unemployment levels consistent with a fullemployment economy (around 5 percent); however, the BLS does not attempt to project turning points in the business cycle.2 Because the economy is expected to emerge from the recession and return to full employment over the 10-year projection period, the current projections indicate faster growth rates and more numerous openings than might have been expected in several industries had employment not fallen in 2O08.3


Major Industry and Occupation Group Projections

Assuming a 2.4 percent annual rate of growth in real gross domestic product (GDP), the BL S projects total employment in the United States to increase by 15.3 million over the 2008-18 period, rising from 150.9 million to 166.2 million. This represents a i.o percent average annual growth rate in new jobs. The labor force is expected to grow at a slightly lower rate of 0.8 percent over the same time period. The three major industries projected to grow the fastest over this ten-year period are private educational services (2.4%), health care and social assistance (2.3%), and professional and business services (2.1%). (See Figure i) In terms of number of new jobs, professional and business services (4.2 million) and health care and social assistance (4 million) are projected to contribute the most to total new job creation.

The average growth rate for all occupations over the 2008-18 period is estimated at 10.1%. Four major occupation groups are projected to exceed the average- professional and related (16.8%), service (13.8%), construction and extraction (13.0%), and management, business, and financial (10.6%). (See Figure 2) Two major occupation categories - professional and related and service occupations- are expected to dominate with respect to total number of new jobs, contributing 5.2 million and 4.1 million new jobs, respectively.

Another way of conceptualizing occupational projections is by job openings. Projected job openings are a measure of the total number of workers who will be needed to meet demand for a particular occupation. Job openings arise when new jobs are created from economic growth and also when workers who have permanently left an occupation need to be replaced (e.g., retirees).4 Total job openings are projected to increase by 49.6 million over the 2008-18 period.5 Figure 3 shows that the majority of job openings in each of the major occupational groups will result from replacement needs rather than new job growth. …