Monday, February 13, 2012

Where the Jobs Will Be in 2020

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New national employment projections for 2010-2020 have just arrived from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  Employment nationwide is expected grow by about 14% over the next decade. Most occupations and industries, but not all, are expected to make up for the horrific job loses experienced in the 2007-09 recession. This post runs through some of the highlights of the new projections; I have discussed the importance of projections and projections for career clusters in other posts.

Industry winners and losers
  • The health care and social assistance sector will continue to see big job gains. This industry sector is expected to gain the most jobs between now and 2020, with employment growing by about 5.6 million jobs. This will also be the fastest growing sector with a 35% growth rate
  • Professional and business services will keep growing. Industries in this sector, which includes Legal Services, Management Consulting Services, and Computer Systems Design Services among others, will keep growing. The sector is expected to add about 3.8 million new positions around the nation.
  • Industries and Occupations
    "Industry" refers to an entire business sector, while "occupation" refers to the specific work that individuals do. The health care and social assistance industry sector includes many subsectors, from physicians' offices to medical laboratories. Most workers in these sectors have health care occupations: physician, nurse, phlebotomist. But many others work here too, including secretaries, janitors, and IT technicians. And some people in health occupations, such as school nurses, work in other industries.

    What About Career Clusters?
    The BLS does not organize occupations into career clusters or make projections for the clusters. However, a crosswalk of occupations to clusters is available, and I'll be making that match soon and writing about how clusters are likely to change.
  • The construction sector will revive and begin to grow again. More than 25% of the fastest growing jobs are related to construction. Even with this fast growth, however, construction is not expected to regain all of the jobs lost during the 2007-09 recession.
  • The manufacturing and federal government sectors will probably continue to lose jobs.  The largest job losses are projected for the Postal Service, federal non-defense government, and apparel knitting mills.
What to expect for occupations
  • Four occupations expected to add the most new jobs are: registered nurses, retail salespersons, home health aides, and personal care aides.
  • The four fastest growing occupations are: personal care aides, home health aides, biomedical engineers, and brickmasons' helpers — the result of continued growth in the health care industry and returning growth in construction.
  • The office and administrative support group of occupations will add the most new jobs overall, over two million.
  • Production occupations are projected to grow this decade, adding 350 thousand jobs. Production employment has been falling for years (as productivity has skyrocketed for high-tech manufacturing and many other manufacturing jobs have been outsourced), and fell dramatically at the outset of the recession. So even though this growth is significant, it won't bring the number of production jobs up to the pre-recession levels.
Where the job openings are

Job opportunities arise when employers create new jobs and when workers retire or leave an occupation and need to be replaced by new hires. The BLS projects the "job openings" for each occupation that arise from the combination of job growth and replacements. Over the next decade, every occupation will have some replacement needs, and in 4 of 5 occupations, replacement needs are expected to exceed job openings due to growth. More than 60% of the 55 million job openings projected for the next decade will be replacements. The large baby boom generation is reaching retirement age now, and millions of boomers will be retiring every year.

Slow Recovery from Recession
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections program released new projections for 2010-2020 in the first week of February 2012. These projections were eagerly awaited because they were the first set to be developed following the recent great recession, and the first to anticipate how occupational employment will recover following this period of significant job loss.

According to the BLS write-up on the release, "These new 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."

The projected changes in employment between 2010 and 2020 include regaining jobs that were lost during the downturn. Total employment is projected to reach nearly 164 million by 2020, reflecting the addition of about 20 million new jobs between 2010 and 2020. About 7.8 million of these jobs are needed just to return total employment to its pre-recession level.
The BLS expects to see more than 400,000 job openings in each of these occupations, so expect lots of want ads for:
  1. Retail Salespersons
  2. Waiters and Waitresses
  3. Registered Nurses
  4. Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food
  5. Office Clerks
  6. Customer Service Representatives
  7. Home Health Aides
  8. Janitors and Cleaners
  9. Personal Care Aides
  10. Childcare Workers
  11. Truck Drivers
  12. Elementary School Teachers
  13. Receptionists
  14. Nursing Assistants
  15. Teacher Assistants
  16. Bookkeeping Clerks
  17. Stock Clerks and Order Fillers
  18. Accountants and Auditors
  19. Landscaping Workers
  20. Carpenters
How much education will workers need
  • Education requirements are continuing to rise. Occupations that require postsecondary education and training are projected to grow faster than those that need a high school diploma or less.
  • Work experience and on-the-job training will be important. Occupations that require apprenticeships are expected to grow by 22%. 
  • More than two-thirds of all job openings are expected to be in occupations that typically don't need postsecondary education. Unfortunately, this is because these low skill jobs are usually low paid and people leave them for better occupations when they can. This creates lots of job openings. High-wage occupations that people like to stay in for a long time almost invariably require more sophisticated skills, and higher levels of education.
    Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics