Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Occupations that Grew Faster than Projected, 2006–16

In 2006, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that occupational employment would grow 10.4 percent by 2016. Boy, were they wrong. The actual growth during those years was just 3.6 percent, thanks to the Great Recession. When the BLS produces labor force projections, it assumes full employment. Employment was anything but full during and in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

But the BLS got a lot of things right. It correctly projected which occupations would grow or decline 75 percent of the time, according to its Occupational Projections Evaluations. (Yes, the BLS periodically evaluates its own projections for accuracy.) It projected which occupations would grow faster than the economy as a whole 54 percent of the time.

The Bureau projected especially rapid growth in the 2006 to 2016 time period for a number of occupations that ended up growing even faster than forecast—despite the ravages of the Great Recession. Here are some of those occupations, along with their actual and projected growth from 2006 to 2016...

Computer software engineers, applications
Actual growth: 64%
Projected growth: 45%

Mental health counselors
Actual growth: 58%
Projected growth: 30%

Personal financial advisors
Actual growth: 54%
Projected growth: 41%

Veterinary technologists/technicians
Actual growth: 43%
Projected growth: 41%

Pharmacy technicians
Actual growth: 41%
Projected growth: 32%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, The 2006–16 Projections: How Did Fast-Growing Occupations Fare?

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