WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 1, 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 today. 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 master’s 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.
— The baby-boom generation moves entirely into the 55-years-and-older
age group by 2020, increasing that age group’s 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.
— 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.
— 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
— 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.
— 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.
— 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.
— 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).
— 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).
— 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
— 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
— 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
— 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
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 master’s degree
are projected to grow by 21.7 percent, followed by doctoral or
professional degree occupations at 19.9 percent, and associate’s
degree occupations at 18.0 percent.
— In terms of typical on-the-job training, occupations that
typically require apprenticeships are projected to grow the fastest
— 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.
— 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-
— Only 3 of the 30 detailed occupations projected to have the
largest employment declines are classified as needing postsecondary
education for entry.
— Over the 2010-20 decade, 54.8 million total job openings are expected. 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
— 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
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
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.
To view the full release, click HERE.