Use employment projections to fuel your career take-off

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Who needs employment projections? If you are:

  • planning a first career out of high school or college,
  • deciding on a college major or degree program,
  • looking for a new career after a layoff,
  • changing direction after a poor job fit,  

or considering your career options in any other scenario – there is data available that can help you make a meaningful and potentially lasting decision.

Employment projections can help you answer these, and other important career questions:

  • Is the career you want growing or declining in your area?
  • How hard will it be to find a job when you complete your training program?
  • Will you be able to get the kind of job you want in a new location?

Employment projections are developed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Employment Projections (EP) program develops information about the labor market for the Nation as a whole for 10 years in the future. National employment projections are developed annually.

For context, across all occupations, BLS projects more than 17 million openings each year, on average, from 2019 to 2029. Openings arise from two sources: when new jobs are created from employment growth and when workers leave an occupation permanently, such as to transfer to another occupation or to retire.

Occupational employment projections can provide valuable input to your career decision-making process, although of course, they are only one of many considerations as you choose your career direction.

Where to start exploring employment projections?

A career profile is a great place to start exploring employment projections. The detailed information can help you get a good idea of an occupation. That’s often enough to determine whether you want to learn more or realize it’s not for you.

CareerOneStop’s Occupation Profile provides two sources of projections:  “Outlook: will there be jobs?” can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future. An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase).
Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future.

The other card to note is “Projected employment”. This card shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

Want to learn which occupations are growing or declining in your area?

The career reports below can give you a broader look at which occupations are trending toward expansion, offering increasing job openings and opportunities, and those that are declining, and likely to offer fewer job openings in the near future.

Fastest-Growing Careers
Find out which occupations are growing the fastest. Includes details about employment, wages, and education.

Careers with the Most Openings
Create a list of occupations with the most openings by state or nationwide. Includes details about employment, number of estimated openings, wages, and education.

Careers with the Largest Employment
Find national and state occupations with the largest employment. Includes details about employment, earnings, and education.

Careers with Declining Employment
Create a list of occupations with the largest declines in employment by state or nationwide. Includes details about employment, earnings, and education.

Scan your local industries to find the strongest job markets

Another type of projection is based on changes to growth in industries, which are the collection of companies and organizations connected with producing a particular product or service, such as cars, software, health care, or energy. By combining a look at which occupations are growing along with knowing which industries that employ them are also growing, you can sharpen your job search or career planning tremendously.  

For example, you might want to become an accountant, or a customer service representative. These occupations exist in most industries. By learning which industries are strongest, for example, health care, you can choose the type of company that is likely to have more openings and offer greater stability.

View Career Cluster / Industry Videos
Learn about major industries and the careers they offer with these videos highlighting popular carer clusters.

Fastest-Growing Industries
Find the industries that are projected to grow the fastest. Includes past and projected industry employment levels and growth rates.

Industries with the Largest Employment
View the industries with the largest employment nationwide. Includes details about employment and links to more detailed industry information.

Industries with Declining Employment
Create a list of industries with the largest projected decline in employment nationwide. Includes past and projected industry employment levels and growth rates.

Highest-Paying Industries
Find the highest-paying industries. Includes details of average weekly wages and average annual wages.

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