Occupational Growth Demographics

Dec 06, 2012 | by Franck Cushner, CFP®

Since the 1960's, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has produced long term economic and employment projections. These projections are used by both the private and public sectors to determine where occupations and skills will be years from now.

In January 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its Employment Outlook for the period of 2010-2020. The outlook takes into account existing budget deficits, taxes, fiscal & monetary policy, and labor demographics. During this ten-year period, the projections include a slowly growing labor force, with an increasing older work force. As the labor force becomes older, less people are willing or able to work, thus decreasing the labor participation rate. The largest projected increase in the labor force will be those 55 years and older. Those 16-24 years of age in the work force will actually decrease by over 12 percent by 2020. This in turn could be an additional burden to the public and private sectors where healthcare and pension benefit costs become more prevalent. The Bureau also projects that future occupational growth will be driven by the current demographics of the United States. Thus, as the population ages, the demand for healthcare and related social assistance occupations will increase significantly. The Bureau also estimates that 22% of employers will be requiring a master's degree by 2020. Thus, an increase in educational services is expected to increase by 26 percent. As the population in the U.S. increases, due to immigration and higher birthrates, so will the demand for housing, which will create new construction jobs over the ten-year period. The Bureau also projected certain sectors to experience a decline in employment over the same ten-year period. The utilities industry is expected to have a decrease in employment of 6.5 percent, with the federal government experiencing 12.5 percent less employees by 2020.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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