FIGURE 4-1 Percentage of total private-sector employment in private-sector health care industries: 1958–2008.
SOURCE: BLS, 2009b.

a new publication planned for November 2011. The report provides anticipated job openings based on the creation of new jobs and projected retirements and attrition. These projections are most useful for career guidance and some long-term planning exercises, said Jones. They identify industries expected to undergo growth, so that an individual can consider a career in those industries or policy makers can invest in workforce development. For example, as seen in Figure 4-1, the BLS data show health care occupations have grown rapidly as a percentage of total employment in the past: from about 3 percent in 1958 to almost 12 percent today. Further, Table 4-1 shows that BLS projections also forecast strong growth in the future for health care professionals.

Projections are also available for individual occupations (see Table 4-2), but the data become less reliable at smaller scales for several reasons. First, the model assumes full employment, but that assumption has not held for the past several years and is unlikely to do so for the next few years at least. According to a report from the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University,

The recession that began in December of 2007 is already 30 months old, but the U.S. economy will not recover its prerecession employment levels for at least another 2 years. From there, it will take an additional 3 years to make up for lost growth and create a job market strong enough to employ both the casualties of the recession and the millions of new workers who will stream into the workforce from schools across the country. (Carnevale et al., 2010)

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