Information in the Career Guide to Industries

What kinds of workers are employed by a particular industry, and what jobs are you qualified for right now? What jobs require special education or training? And, what advancement opportunities do these jobs offer in the long run? The Career Guide to Industries addresses these questions and more for 44 diverse industries which, when combined, accounted for about 3 out of 4 wage and salary jobs in 2006.

As a companion to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the Career Guide discusses careers from an industry perspective. Why?: Because many career-minded people think in terms of industries rather than occupations. Your personal circumstances may compel you to remain in a specific area, limiting prospective jobs to those offered by the distinctive mix of industries in your State or community. Or, you may be attracted to a particular industry for other reasons-the glamour and travel associated with the air transportation industry, the potential for high earnings in the securities and commodities industry, the appeal of using advanced technology in aerospace manufacturing, or the opportunity to work with children offered by the educational services industry. By focusing on industries, the Career Guide provides information that the Handbook does not. It shows the relationships between different occupations and how they cooperate within industries to produce goods and bring them to the market or provide services to businesses and the public. Furthermore, some occupations are unique to a particular industry, and are not discussed in the Handbook. And, some industries offer specific paths of career advancement that are not addressed in the Handbook.

For each industry, the Career Guide includes a section with information on each of the following topics, although the information presented within each section varies slightly from industry to industry:

Nature of the Industry

  • Describes the goods produced or the services provided by the individual segments of each industry.
  • Describes the production processes, and the changes in technology or business practices taking place.

Working Conditions

  • Describes the physical environment in which workers perform their duties, including the hours of work, the frequency of night or weekend work or split shifts, and the physical activities essential to successful job performance.
  • Discusses the proportion of part-time workers, rates of job-related injury and illness, and the extent and frequency of travel.


  • Indicates the number of wage and salary jobs and, where significant, the number of self-employed persons in the industry and data on the age of workers.
  • Includes the number of establishments and concentration of industry employment by State, as well as the distribution of establishments and employment in the industry by employment-size class.
  • Includes data on other unusual characteristics of industry workers, where significant.
  • Describes the various jobs and the ways in which each fits into the process of producing goods or delivering services to consumers.
  • Provides the current and projected numbers of wage and salary jobs by occupation.

Training and Advancement

  • Details the qualifications required for key occupations and the types of formal education and other training that employers prefer.
  • Discusses the training and educational paths of career advancement for key occupations.
  • Discusses self-employment opportunities, when relevant.


  • Discusses the projected growth or decline of jobs in the industry and the projected rate of job growth compared with those in the economy as a whole.
  • Describes the factors expected to influence employment growth, such as new technology, changing business practices, and demographics.
  • May discuss the ease or difficulty of acquiring a job.


  • Provides data on the average weekly earnings, earnings of key occupations, and employee benefits.
  • Lists the principal unions and the proportion of workers who belong to unions or who are covered by union contracts.

About those NAICS numbers at the end of each industry statement.

The numbers that appear at the end of each industry statement are North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes that define the economic activities covered by each industry in the Career Guide. These codes are from North American Industry Classification System, United States 2002, a manual published by the U. S. Office of Management and Budget. The NAICS Manual defines and names industries and establishes a structure for relating industries to one another. All statistics on industries produced by the Federal Government are collected in accordance with the NAICS. The NAICS Manual describes the establishment types and goods and services produced in each of the specific industries covered in the Career Guide. Readers interested in obtaining more detailed definitions of the industries in the Career Guide should consult the NAICS Manual, which is available in the reference section of many libraries. The NAICS Manual also may be consulted on the Internet at This edition of the Career Guide is the third to be classified according to NAICS. Editions prior to the 2004-05 edition classified industries according to the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC), which is no longer being used by Federal statistical programs.


Tables in the Career Guide

Unless otherwise indicated, the source of data presented in the tables is the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Last Modified Date: December 18, 2007