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Career guides guide
Tomorrow's Jobs

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» Population
» Labor Force
» Education & Training
» Employment
» Industry
» Occupation
» Total Job Openings

Expansion of service-providing industries is expected to continue, creating demand for many occupations. However, projected job growth varies among major occupational groups.

Professional and related occupations. Professional and related occupations will grow the fastest and add more new jobs than any other major occupational group. Over the 2002-12 period, a 23.3-percent increase in the number of professional and related jobs is projected, a gain of 6.5 million. Professional and related workers perform a wide variety of duties, and are employed throughout private industry and government. About three-quarters of the job growth will come from three groups of professional occupations - computer and mathematical occupations, healthcare practitioners and technical occupations, and education, training, and library occupations - which will add 4.9 million jobs combined.

Service occupations. Service workers perform services for the public. Employment in service occupations is projected to increase by 5.3 million, or 20.1 percent, the second largest numerical gain and second highest rate of growth among the major occupational groups. Food preparation and serving related occupations are expected to add the most jobs among the service occupations, 1.6 million by 2012. However, healthcare support occupations are expected to grow the fastest, 34.5 percent, adding 1.1 million new jobs.

Management, business, and financial occupations. Workers in management, business, and financial occupations plan and direct the activities of business, government, and other organizations. Their employment is expected to increase by 2.4 million, or 15.4 percent, by 2012. Among managers, the numbers of computer and information systems managers and of preschool and childcare center/program educational administrators will grow the fastest, by 36.1 percent and 32 percent, respectively. General and operations managers will add the most new jobs, 376,000, by 2012. Farmers and ranchers are the only workers in this major occupational group whose numbers are expected to decline, losing 238,000 jobs. Among business and financial occupations, accountants and auditors and management analysts will add the most jobs, 381,000 combined. Management analysts also will be one of the fastest growing occupations in this group, along with personal financial advisors, with job increases of 30.4 percent and 34.6 percent, respectively.

Construction and extraction occupations. Construction and extraction workers construct new residential and commercial buildings, and also work in mines, quarries, and oil and gas fields. Employment of these workers is expected to grow 15 percent, adding 1.1 million new jobs. Construction trades and related workers will account for more than three-fourths of these new jobs, 857,000, by 2012. Many extraction occupations will decline, reflecting overall employment losses in the mining and oil and gas extraction industries.

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations. Workers in installation, maintenance, and repair occupations install new equipment and maintain and repair older equipment. These occupations will add 776,000 jobs by 2012, growing by 13.6 percent. Automotive service technicians and mechanics and general maintenance and repair workers will account for more than 4 in 10 new installation, maintenance, and repair jobs. The fastest growth rate will be among heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers, an occupation that is expected to grow 31.8 percent over the 2002-12 period.

Transportation and material moving occupations. Transportation and material-moving workers transport people and materials by land, sea, or air. The number of these workers should grow 13.1 percent, accounting for 1.3 million additional jobs by 2012. Among transportation occupations, motor vehicle operators will add the most jobs, 760,000. Rail transportation occupations are the only group in which employment is projected to decline, by 5.4 percent, through 2012. Material moving occupations will grow 8.9 percent and will add 422,000 jobs.

Sales and related occupations. Sales and related workers transfer goods and services among businesses and consumers. Sales and related occupations are expected to add 2 million new jobs by 2012, growing by 12.9 percent. The majority of these jobs will be among retail salespersons and cashiers, occupations that will add more than 1 million jobs combined.

Office and administrative support occupations. Office and administrative support workers perform the day-to-day activities of the office, such as preparing and filing documents, dealing with the public, and distributing information. Employment in these occupations is expected to grow by 6.8 percent, adding 1.6 million new jobs by 2012. Customer service representatives will add the most new jobs, 460,000. Desktop publishers will be among the fastest growing occupations in this group, increasing by 29.2 percent over the decade. Office and administrative support occupations account for 11 of the 20 occupations with the largest employment declines.

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations. Farming, fishing, and forestry workers cultivate plants, breed and raise livestock, and catch animals. These occupations will grow 3.3 percent and add 35,000 new jobs by 2012. Agricultural workers, including farmworkers and laborers, accounted for the overwhelming majority of new jobs in this group. The numbers of both fishing and logging workers are expected to decline, by 26.8 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively.

Production occupations. Production workers are employed mainly in manufacturing, where they assemble goods and operate plants. Production occupations will have the slowest job growth among the major occupational groups, 3.2 percent, adding 354,000 jobs by 2012. Jobs will be created for many production occupations, including food processing workers, machinists, and welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers. Textile, apparel, and furnishings occupations, as well as assemblers and fabricators, will account for much of the job losses among production occupations.

Among all occupations in the economy, computer and healthcare occupations are expected to grow the fastest over the projection period. In fact, healthcare occupations make up 10 of the 20 fastest growing occupations, while computer occupations account for 5 out of the 20 fastest growing occupations in the economy. In addition to high growth rates, these 15 computer and healthcare occupations combined will add more than 1.5 million new jobs. High growth rates among computer and healthcare occupations reflect projected rapid growth in the computer and data processing and health services industries.

The 20 occupations listed in will account for more than one-third of all new jobs, 8 million combined, over the 2002-12 period. The occupations with the largest numerical increases cover a wider range of occupational categories than do those occupations with the fastest growth rates. Health occupations will account for some of these increases in employment, as well as occupations in education, sales, transportation, office and administrative support, and food service. Many of these occupations are very large, and will create more new jobs than will those with high growth rates. Only 2 out of the 20 fastest growing occupations - home health aides and personal and home care aides - also are projected to be among the 20 occupations with the largest numerical increases in employment.

Declining occupational employment stems from declining industry employment, technological advancements, changes in business practices, and other factors. For example, increased productivity and farm consolidations are expected to result in a decline of 238,000 farmers and ranchers over the 2002-12 period. The majority of the 20 occupations with the largest numerical decreases are office and administrative support and production occupations, which are affected by increasing plant and factory automation and the implementation of office technology that reduces the needs for these workers. For example, employment of word processors and typists is expected to decline due to the proliferation of personal computers, which allows other workers to perform duties formerly assigned to word processors and typists.

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Data Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2004-05 Edition