Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Employment Projections
We value your feedback!
Please take a short survey to help us improve Employment Projections.
START SURVEY

Occupational Projections Evaluation: 2002–2012

The main factor affecting occupational growth rates is the growth rate of the industries in which they are employed. But over time, industries also change the mix of occupations used to create their output. Occupational projections incorporate changes to both those factors. For more information, refer to our evaluation methodology.

Measuring Accuracy

How often did BLS correctly project growth and decline for occupations?

BLS correctly projected whether an occupation would grow or decline 86 percent of the time.

What did BLS project as the average growth rate from 2002 to 2012?

The projected average growth rate for occupations from 2002 to 2012 was 14.8 percent.

What was the actual average growth rate?

The actual average growth rate for occupations from 2002 to 2012 was 0.9 percent.

What contributed to the difference?

The recession of 2007–2009 reduced employment and slowed employment growth. Employment levels and the unemployment rate had not yet recovered from the recession. BLS projections assume full employment.

Was BLS able to project which occupations would grow relatively faster in spite of the differences between projected and actual growth?

BLS correctly projected which occupations would grow faster than the economy as a whole 57 percent of the time.

A standard for comparison

An important way to evaluate any projection is to compare it against other, similar projections. This is not possible for occupational projections because there are no comparable projections which are not in some way derived from BLS projections. When no comparable projection exists another way of evaluating is to compare against a naïve model. The occupational evaluation uses the occupational–share naïve model.

Different aspects of projections

In addition to detailed occupations, occupational projections were evaluated for:

  • Projections of major occupational groups
  • Projections of occupations combined based on the level of education and training BLS assigned in 2002

These two evaluations show how well BLS projected groups of related occupations.

Each was compared to the occupational–share naïve model by summing the absolute differences from the actual result.

Table 1. Major occupational groups, combined scorecard

Measure

BLS

Naïve

Which performed better

Sum of absolute differences

6.7%

11.1%

BLS has a smaller sum of absolute differences for all major groups combined

Count of better score

17

5

BLS had a smaller sum of absolute differences for most major group

 

Table 2. Major occupational groups, sum of absolute differences

Occupational group

BLS

Naïve

Which performed better

Management occupations

0.88

0.94

BLS

Business and financial operations occupations

0.45

0.56

BLS

Computer and mathematical occupations

0.29

0.40

BLS

Architecture and engineering occupations

0.40

0.37

Occupational-Share Naïve

Life, physical, and social science occupations

0.16

0.17

BLS

Community and social services occupations

0.26

0.31

BLS

Legal occupations

0.05

0.06

BLS

Education, training, and library occupations

0.46

0.34

Occupational-Share Naïve

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations

0.36

0.38

BLS

Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations

0.31

0.53

BLS

Healthcare support occupations

0.23

0.47

BLS

Protective service occupations

0.09

0.11

BLS

Food preparation and serving related occupations

1.32

1.45

BLS

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations

0.09

0.16

BLS

Personal care and service occupations

0.70

0.83

BLS

Sales and related occupations

0.92

1.05

BLS

Office and administrative support occupations

2.59

2.75

BLS

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations

0.07

0.07

Occupational-Share Naïve

Construction and extraction occupations

1.11

1.12

BLS

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

0.48

0.47

Occupational-Share Naïve

Production occupations

1.01

1.57

BLS

Transportation and material moving occupations

0.96

0.85

Occupational-Share Naïve

 

Issues evaluating occupational projections

Data compared here were affected by the introduction of the 2010 Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) system which resulted in 81 out of 840 occupations not being comparable between 2002 and 2012. Definitional changes associated with the new classification system may also have had a limited impact on occupations that were deemed comparable.

Coverage of employment changed in 2008 when Employment Projections stopped producing estimates for secondary employment.

The 2002–2012 projections included 29 non–SOC occupations which were not collected by the OES program in subsequent years. Without 2012 employment levels, no comparison was possible for these occupations.

 

Return to Projections Evaluation Homepage

 

Last Modified Date: August 1, 2018