Healthcare occupations and industries are expected to have the fastest employment growth and to add the most jobs between 2014 and 2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. With the increase in the proportion of the population in older age groups, more people in the labor force will be entering prime retirement age. As a result, the labor force participation rate is projected to decrease and labor force growth to slow.
This slowdown of labor force growth is expected, in turn, to lead to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 2.2 percent annually over the decade. This economic growth is projected to generate 9.8 million new jobs--a 6.5-percent increase between 2014 and 2024.
The projections are predicated on assumptions including a 5.2 percent unemployment rate in 2024 and labor productivity growth of 1.8 percent annually over the projected period. Highlights of the BLS projections for the labor force and macroeconomy, industry employment, and occupational employment are included below.
Labor Force and the Macroeconomy
The civilian labor force is projected to reach 163.8 million in 2024, growing at an annual rate of 0.5 percent. (See table 1.)
The labor force continues to age. The median age of the labor force was 37.7 in 1994, 40.3 in 2004, 41.9 in 2014, and is projected to be 42.4 in 2024. At the same time, the overall labor force participation rate is projected to decrease from 62.9 percent in 2014 to 60.9 percent in 2024.
The labor force participation rate for youth (ages 16 to 24) is projected to decrease from 55.0 percent in 2014 to 49.7 percent in 2024. The youth age group is projected to make up 11.3 percent of the civilian labor force in 2024 as compared with 13.7 percent in 2014. In contrast, the labor force participation rate for the 65-and-older age group is projected to increase from 18.6 percent in 2014 to 21.7 percent in 2024. This older age group is projected to represent 8.2 percent of the civilian labor force in 2024 as compared with 5.4 percent in 2014.
Labor force diversity is projected to increase, with white non-Hispanics making up 59.6 percent of the civilian labor force in 2024, compared with 64.6 percent in 2014.
Real GDP (2009 chained dollars) is projected to grow at an annual rate of 2.2 percent, from $16.1 trillion in 2014 to $19.9 trillion in 2024.
Within GDP, medical services will continue to grow as a share of nominal personal consumption expenditures. This category is projected to account for 18.0 percent of consumption in 2024--higher than its 16.7-percent share in 2014 and 15.0-percent share in 2004.
Service-providing sectors are projected to capture 94.6 percent of all the jobs added between 2014 and 2024. Of these 9.3 million new service sector jobs, 3.8 million will be added to the healthcare and social assistance major sector.
The healthcare and social assistance major sector is expected to become the largest employing major sector during the projections decade, overtaking the state and local government major sector and the professional and business services major sector. Healthcare and social assistance is projected to increase its employment share from 12.0 percent in 2014 to 13.6 percent in 2024.
Construction is projected to add 790,400 jobs by 2024. Even with these additional jobs, employment in the construction major sector is not projected to return to the 2006 peak.
Manufacturing employment, between 2014 and 2024, is projected to decline at a 0.7 percent rate annually, a more moderate decline than the 1.6 percent rate experienced in the prior decade.
Healthcare support occupations and healthcare practitioners and technical occupations are projected to be the two fastest growing occupational groups during the 2014 to 2024 projections decade. These groups are projected to contribute the most new jobs, with a combined increase of 2.3 million in employment, representing about 1 in 4 new jobs.
Of the 819 detailed occupations, employment in 602 occupations is projected to grow, while employment in 217 occupations is projected to decline.
Two major groups are projected to have declining employment. Together, production occupations and farming, fishing, and forestry occupations are projected to shed 339,300 jobs during the projections decade.
For 11 of the 15 fastest growing occupations, some level of postsecondary education is typically required for entry. (See table 5.)
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