About the Long-Term Numbers
National projections are developed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. State projections are developed in the labor market information sections of each State Employment Security Agency.
The projection period is 2008-2018 for all States.
The projection period includes the long-term period up to 2018 for all participating states. Participating states may project from different quarters within the base and projected years, For example they may project from 2008:Q2 to 2018:Q2 or from 2008:Q4 to 2018:Q4.
Each State Employment Security Agency, in cooperation with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, uses the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) report to gather occupational employment data. These OES data are the basis for the staffing patterns used in the projections. The data collected reflect the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC). (Many occupations are not identified separately in the SOC and are included in aggregate categories not shown on this site.)
Employment may not be sufficient to warrant the development of occupational projections in every occupation in each State, or the data may be confidential. Occupations for which projections are not available are indicated with an (NA) for 'not available.'
For most States, 2008 and 2018 employment are rounded to the nearest 10. Numerical employment change and average annual openings are rounded to the nearest 10. Employment less than 50 is shown as (NA). Numbers with an absolute value of less than 10 are identified with an (NA). If the numerical employment change is shown as (NA), the percent employment change is also shown as (NA).
Data for States currently not included will be added as they become available.
It is important to note that Louisiana lost a high number of jobs within a very short period of time due to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. That net decrease continues to affect the state employment picture as it relates to projections. In light of that, projections for Louisiana are not strictly comparable to those for other states.
Numeric Employment Change
Numeric employment change is the difference in the number of jobs between the base and projected years. A positive number means employment is growing due to the creation of new jobs. A negative number indicates employment is declining in the occupation.
Numeric change is important to consider along with percent change, because both types of change are affected by the size of employment in an occupation. Occupations with a large base of numeric employment may be creating large numbers of new jobs yet have small percent changes. Occupations with a small base of numeric employment may be creating a small number of new jobs yet have large percent changes.
Percent employment change indicates how fast employment is expected to increase or decrease during the projection period. The larger the positive percent change, the faster employment is growing. A large positive percent change is generally an indicator of favorable employment prospects. Likewise, the larger the negative percent change, the faster employment is declining, and the more unfavorable the employment prospects.
Average Annual Openings
Average annual openings are the sum of average annual new jobs and replacements. Average annual new jobs are the numeric change in employment over the projection period divided by the number of years in the projection period. Replacements are an estimate of the number of jobs that will arise from the need to replace workers who will change occupations, retire, or otherwise permanently leave the occupation. Occupations with declining employment will have average annual openings equal to replacement needs. Average annual openings are presented because job openings arise from both newly created jobs and the need to replace workers who permanently leave their jobs.
How Often are the Projections Updated?
National occupational projections are developed on a 2-year schedule and most States follow a similar schedule. The next National projections cycle will cover the period from 2010-2020 and will be available in November of 2011 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data from most States will not be available until late 2012. Employment projections are developed by each State and therefore are subject to work schedules and other related constraints of each State. Once the participating states have completed their next round of projections, updates will be made to this site.
Projection data accessible from this site are the responsibility of each agency that developed projections. The accuracy of projections for individual occupations is subject, of course, to error because of the many unknown factors that will affect the economy over the projection period. While occupational employment projections and related job outlook information can provide valuable inputs to the career decision-making process, they should not be the sole basis for a choice of career.