Labor Day by the Numbers

by Keith Hall on September 3, 2010 · 3 comments

Bureau of Labor Statistics Commissioner Keith Hall testifies during a Joint Economic Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on March 5, 2010. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America)

As we enter Labor Day 2010, it’s no secret that the last couple of years have been very tough for our Nation’s labor market.  Millions of people have lost their jobs and unemployment has reached levels no one is happy about.  Some good news is that we have seen modest private sector job growth every month thus far this year, including in sectors as diverse as mining and health care.

We also know that the U.S. economy has weathered storms before and, over the long term, much better times are ahead for job creation.  Every two years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics develops long term projections of employment growth by industry and occupations.  The projections show an aging and more racially and ethnically diverse labor force, and employment growth in service-providing industries.  More than half of the new jobs will be in professional and related occupations and service occupations.  Here are a few that we expect will provide good employment prospects over the next decade.

Employment of registered nurses is expected to grow by over half a million jobs between 2008 and 2018. The projected growth rate of 22 percent is well above the 10 percent average for all occupations. Employment growth for registered nurses will be driven by the medical needs of an aging population. In addition, registered nurses are expected to provide more primary care as a low-cost alternative to physician-provided care.

The number of home health aides and personal and home care aides is projected to grow by over 800,000, or nearly 50 percent.  This strong job growth will stem from a rise in the number of elderly people, an age group that relies increasingly on home care for assistance with daily activities.

Other occupations that are expected to show strong growth from 2008 to 2018 are computer systems administrators and postsecondary teachers.  Computer occupations are projected to show above average growth (increasing by 30 percent) as organizations increasingly use network technologies and collect and organize data. Employment growth for postsecondary teachers is expected to rise by 15 percent as more people attend college and workers return to school to update their skills.

To learn more about our projections, see “The 2008–18 job outlook in brief” in the Spring 2010 edition of the Occupational Outlook Quarterly.  Comprehensive information on the latest projections is available from the BLS Employment Projections program.

Dr. Keith Hall is the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

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