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Home  > Article

Smart Steps you can take to Find future Job Opportunities

By Laura Sweeney

Prospective changes in the employment picture can impact the career decisions you make now. With the help of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we can predict what the workforce of the future will look like by tracking shifts in the labor market.

In a dynamic economy like this one, workers have to be flexible and forward-thinking; they have to equip themselves with skills that aren't going to be irrelevant in a year or two.
If you're in the job market, or if you're about to enter it, you might be wondering what direction to go: What industries are hot today? What qualifications will I need tomorrow? You're right to wonder, because in a dynamic job market like this one, workers have to be flexible and forward-thinking; they have to equip themselves with skills that won't be irrelevant in a year or two.

In the span of a decade, whole new occupations can be created, and others can become obsolete. One only needs to consider the job descriptions made possible by the Internet, which were unimaginable to us only a few years ago, to understand the need to look ahead.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the government agency that tracks the employment situation in the United States, can help us look ahead to the workforce of the future. By identifying shifts and developing trends in the labor market, you can plan ahead by making smart, informed career decisions now.

BLS's forecast to the year 2006 projects has some good things to say about your employment prospects, thanks to a strong economy, the slowing growth of the labor force, and a favorable inflation outlook. Here are the highlights of the BLS forecast:

More educated
Employment will increase in occupations requiring higher levels of education and training. Between 1996 and 2006, the demand for workers with bachelor's degrees will increase 25 percent; for employees with a master's degree by 15 percent; with a doctorate by 19 percent; and with previous work experience plus a bachelor's or higher degree by 18 percent. Employers also will be looking for employees with on-the-job training.

Hot occupations
The aging of the baby boomer generation will be a major influence on future employment. The most rapid job growth will be in service-producing industries, which will account for virtually all of the job growth through 2006. Health, business, and social services, as well as engineering and management services, are expected to account for almost one of every two jobs added to the economy between 1996 and 2006. Of the 10 fastest growing industries, nine belong to one of these four industry groups.

Top 10 Industries: Fastest Employment Growth (1996-2006)
1. Computer and data processing services
2. Health services
3. Management and public relations
4. Transportation services
5. Residential care
6. Personal supply services
7. Water and sanitation
8. Individual/social services
9. Offices of health practitioners
10. Amusement and recreation services
Source: BLS, 1998-1999 Occupational Outlook Handbook

Top 10 Occupations: Fastest Employment Growth (1996-2006)
1. Database administrators, computers support specialists, computer scientists
2. Computer engineers
3. Systems analysts
4. Personal and home care aides
5. Physical and corrective therapy assistants and aides
6. Home health aides
7. Medical assistants
8. Desktop publishing specialists
9. Physical therapists
10. Occupational therapy assistants and aides
Source: BLS, 1998-1999 Occupational Outlook Handbook

You can find more detailed statistics on the employment situation in the United States at, the web site of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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