Employment Outlook Projections FAQ

The State Long-Term Occupational Projections are based first on NATIONAL Industry Projections.  Some aspects of state projection are then totally independent of national projections. Examples include: by industry and shift-share analysis and the time series models.

Projection Steps

Projecting industry employment levels and occupational detail requires projections of the total economy and its sectors. BLS develops its projections in a series of six steps that examine:

  • The size and demographic composition of the labor force
  • Aggregate economic growth
  • Commodity final demand
  • Input–output
  • Industry output and employment
  • Occupational employment and openings
    (State Staffing Patterns)

Each step, based on separate procedures and models and on related assumptions, goes through several iterations to ensure internal consistency as assumptions and results are reviewed and revised. Together, these components provide the analytical framework needed to develop detailed employment projections by industry, and then for the state and areas. BLS analysts solve each component sequentially.

Read “About the Numbers” from the BLS website for additional information.

Education Gauge

Using the O*NET comprehensive database of worker attributes and job characteristics, a relative education level value is assigned to each occupation. Those levels are shown here as a general gauge or guide to base education levels – since each occupation may show a “span” of education/degree levels for one occupation, which particularly true for those occupations where there are inherent “ladders” that take into account not only education but also experience. The graphs and values shown in this tool are base-level indicators of the amount of education that may be required by an employer for that occupation. Further reading is available here: http://www.onetcenter.org/dataCollection.html.

Keep in mind that O*NET is just one measure of the educational attainment needed for different occupations. The visualization below explores data from four different federal sources to see how they compare.

 Some Terminology

  • Growth Rate = % of new jobs over time frame (decade).
  • Growth Openings = Projected new jobs due to “growth.”
  • Replacement Openings = Projected openings due to replacements, turnover and retirements. This is predominantly based on retirements and labor force (age) projections from the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Total Openings = Growth + Replacement Openings over the 10-year time frame.
  • Annual Openings = Assumes same rate of growth over the decade.
  • Educational Attainment = Level of education most common to incumbent workforce in these occupations.
  • On-the-Job Training/Experience = Level of training or experience most common to incumbent workforce in these occupations.

Collaboration

The Projections Program, and the Projections Suite Software, is governed by the Projections Management Partnership (PMP). This is a collaborative entity:

  • State LMI Shops, including Directors and Economists
  • State Labor Market Analysts and Economists
  • Federal (ETA and BLS) Economists and Statisticians
  • PMP Suite (System) IT Architects (based out of Utah)
  • C2ER – The Council of Economic Researchers, also on the PMP Board with representatives from the economic development community