THE JOB MARKET

Every two years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics develops projections of the labor force, economic growth, industry output and occupational employment under three sets of alternative assumptions. Population is the single most important factor governing the size and composition of the labor force, which includes people who are working, or looking for work. The civilian labor force totaled One hundred fifty one (151) million in the year 2005 and is expected to reach One hundred seventy five (175) million by the year 2015. This projected increase, (approximately fifteen percent), represents a slowdown in both the number added to the labor force and the rate of labor force growth, largely due to slower population growth. The changing age structure of the population will directly affect tomorrow's labor force. As the proportion of young workers declines, the pool of experienced workers will increase. In the year 1990, the median age of the labor force was 36.6 years. In the year 2005, it was 40.5 years. The growing proportion of workers between the ages of forty-five and fifty-four is particularly striking. These workers accounted for twenty-four percent of the labor force in the year 2005, up from sixteen percent in the year 1990. Because workers in their mid-forties to mid-fifties usually have substantial work experience and tend to be more stable than younger workers are, this could result in improved productivity and a larger pool of experienced applicants from which employers may choose. The number of older workers aged fifty-five and above is projected to grow about twice as fast as the total labor force. As the baby boomers grow older, the number of workers in the fifty-five to sixty-four age groups will increase. In the year 2005, workers aged fifty-five and over comprised fifteen percent of the labor force, up from twelve percent in the year 1990. In recent years, the level of educational attainment of the labor force has risen dramatically. Projected rates of employment growth are faster for occupations requiting higher levels of education or training than for those requiting less. The emphasis on education will continue. The fastest growing occupational groups will be executive, administrative, managerial, professional specialty, technical and related support occupations. These occupations generally require higher levels of education and skills and they will make up an increasing proportion of new jobs. Office and factory automation, changes in consumer demand, and substitution of imports for domestic products are expected to cause employment to stagnate or decline in many occupations that require little formal education -- apparel workers and textile machinery operators, for example. Opportunities for high school dropouts will be increasingly limited. Employed high school dropouts are more likely to have low paying jobs with little advancement potential, while workers in occupations requiring higher levels of education have higher incomes. In addition, many of the occupations projected to grow most rapidly are among those with higher earnings. Nevertheless, even slower growing occupations that have a large number of workers will provide many job openings resulting from the need to replace workers who leave the labor force or transfer to other occupations. Consequently, workers with all levels of education and training will continue to be in demand, although advancement opportunities will be best for those with the most education and training. The number of workers employed in any occupation depends in large 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 technicians. Even if the demand for goods and services provided by a group of workers rises, employment may not increase at all or may increase slower than demand because of changes in the ways goods are produced and services are provided. Some changes in technology and business practices cause employment to decline. For example, while the volume of information to process is expected to increase dramatically, the employment of filing clerks will probably fall. This reflects the growing use of computer data-storage equipment that is rapidly replacing paper records. The twelve clusters of occupations based on the Federal Government's Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system are listed below: - 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

Author:.

Dr. Uchil is an entrepreneur, business-owner and author embodying almost three decades of management and consulting experience. Prior to founding The Uchil Group and Uchil, LLC, Dr. Uchil spent over eighteen years in a variety of senior management roles at several large consulting organizations. In addition to his PhD in Business Administration Dr. Uchil also holds an MBA in Consulting Operations Management, a BSEE in Electrical Engineering and a Diploma in Electronics and Telecommunicati...

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