Frequently Asked Questions

Does BLS project future labor shortages or surpluses?

No. Attempts by some to ascribe shortages or surpluses to our projections are based on an incorrect comparison of the total employment and total labor force projections, two separate and fundamentally different measures. The total employment projection is a count of jobs and the labor force projection is a count of individuals. Users of these data should not assume that the difference between the projected increase in the labor force and the projected increase in employment implies a labor shortage or surplus. The BLS projections assume a labor market in equilibrium, i.e., one where labor supply meets labor demand except for some degree of frictional unemployment. For a discussion of the basic projection methodology, see "An overview of BLS projections to 2016," James C. Franklin, November 2007 Monthly Labor Review. For a discussion of labor shortages in the context of long-term projection models, see "Employment projections to 2012: concepts and context," Michael W. Horrigan, February 2004 Monthly Labor Review. For a summary of recent trends in employment from the BLS household and employment surveys, see

How often are the projections updated and where are they published?

The economic, employment, and labor force projections are usually updated every other year; the most recent update took place in December 2007. The projections are usually released first in the November issue of the Monthly Labor Review in odd-numbered years. They are also published in the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

What is the time horizon for BLS projections?

The projections have a 10 year span. Currently the projections go to 2016.

What are the fastest growing jobs?

The fastest growing jobs can be found in this table and reflect jobs with the largest rate of change, in terms of percentage.

What are the occupations adding the most jobs?

The occupations adding the largest number of positions can be found in this table.

What are the fastest growing industries?

The industries with the fastest growing jobs can be found in this table and rank the industries with jobs experiencing the largest rate of change, in terms of percentage.

Are there annual projections or just data for the terminal year?

The projections are available only for 2016.

Do you have projections for states or local areas?

BLS prepares projections only for the Nation as a whole. Projections of industry and occupational employment are prepared by each State, using input from the BLS National projections.

How accurate are BLS projections?

BLS evaluates its projections regularly and publishes these evaluations in the Monthly Labor Review.


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Last Modified Date: June 26, 2008