Glossary

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A

Annual: recurring, done, or performed every year; yearly

Applicant: a person who formally applies for a job

Apprenticeship: a formal relationship between a worker and sponsor that consists of a combination of on-the-job training and related occupation-specific instruction in which the worker learns the practical and theoretical aspects of an occupation. Apprenticeship programs are sponsored by individual employers, joint employer-and-labor groups, and employee associations. Apprenticeship programs usually provide at least 144 hours of occupation-specific technical instruction and 2,000 hours of on-the-job training per year over a 3- to-5-year period. Examples of occupations that utilize apprenticeships include electricians and structural iron and steel workers; see On-the-job training

Associate’s degree: degree awarded usually for at least 2 years of full-time academic study beyond high school; see Education

Average: the quantity calculated by adding a set of numbers and dividing the resulting sum by the quantity of numbers summed; see Mean

Back to top

B

Baby-boom generation: individuals born between 1946 and 1964

Bachelor’s degree: degree awarded usually for at least 4 years of full-time academic study beyond high school; see Education

Base year: year used as a reference point for comparison with later years. For example, 2014 is the base year for the 2014–2024 employment projections. Employment in the base year is actual 2014 data, whereas employment in the target, or projection, year is projected

Business cycle: the periods of growth and decline in an economy. There are four stages in the cycle: expansion, when the economy grows; peak, the high point of an expansion; contraction, when the economy slows down; and trough, the low point of a contraction 

Back to top

C

Certification: award for demonstrating competency in a skill or set of skills, typically through the passage of an examination, work experience, training, or some combination thereof. Some certification programs may require a certain level of educational achievement for eligibility

Consolidation: the merger of two or more commercial interests or corporations

Current Population Survey (CPS): a national survey that samples 60,000 households on a monthly basis and collects information on labor force characteristics of the U.S. civilian noninstitutional population; the CPS is conducted by the Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Back to top

D

Demand for workers: total job openings resulting from employment growth and the need to replace workers who leave jobs

Doctoral or professional degree: degree awarded usually for at least 3 years of full-time academic work beyond a bachelor’s degree; for example, some science and other occupations need a doctoral degree, and all lawyers, physicians, and dentists need a professional degree, for employment; see Education

Domestic sourcing: moving jobs to lower cost regions of the United States instead of to other countries

Duties: the major tasks or activities that employees in an occupation usually perform

Back to top

E

Earnings: pay or wages of a worker or group of workers for services performed during a specific period—for example, hourly, daily, weekly, or annually. Also see Pay, Wages

Education: levels of education typically needed for entry into an occupation are classified as follows:

Doctoral or professional degree: degree awarded usually for at least 3 years of full-time academic work beyond a bachelor’s degree; e.g., lawyers, physicians and surgeons, and dentists

Master’s degree: degree awarded usually for 1 or 2 years of full-time academic study beyond a bachelor’s degree

Bachelor’s degree: degree awarded usually for at least 4 years of full-time academic study beyond high school

Associate’s degree: degree awarded usually for at least 2 years of full-time academic study beyond high school

Postsecondary nondegree award: usually a certificate or other award that is not a degree. Certifications issued by professional organizations or certifying bodies are not included in this category. Programs may last only a few weeks to 2 years. e.g., nursing assistants, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics, and hairstylists

Some college, no degree: a high school diploma or the equivalent, plus the completion of one or more postsecondary courses that did not result in any degree or award

High school diploma or equivalent: the completion of high school or the equivalent, resulting in the award of a high school diploma or the equivalent

No formal educational credential: signifies that a formal credential issued by an educational institution, such as a high school diploma or postsecondary certificate, is not typically needed for entry into the occupation; e.g., janitors and cleaners, cashiers, and agricultural equipment operators

Employed: the situation of a person who has an agreement with an employer to work full time, part time, or on a contractual basis for that employer 

Employment: the number of jobs in an occupation, including full-time jobs, part-time jobs, and self-employment

Employment growth/decline: increase/decrease in the number of jobs

Entry level: the starting level for workers who are new to an occupation; different occupations may require different levels of education, training, or experience upon entry

Back to top

F

Fieldwork: an investigation or search for material, data, etc., made in the field as opposed to the classroom, the laboratory, or official headquarters. For example, the work archeologists perform at a dig site in the desert; the work historians or curators engage in when they find or collect artifacts for museums; and the work environmental technicians do when they collect water samples from a pond, a stream, or an ocean 

Five years or more (of work experience in a related occupation): the number of years of experience in a related occupation typically needed for entry into a given occupation; see Work experience in a related occupation

Fixed work schedules: schedules of employees who work the same hours on an ongoing basis—for example, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.; see Work schedules

Flexible work schedules: schedules of employees who set their own hours within specified guidelines and with a fixed number of total hours; see Work schedules

Full time: 35 hours or more per week, according to the Current Population Survey; see Work schedules

Back to top

G

GDP (gross domestic product): the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period; the most commonly used measure of the size of the overall economy; the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) produces estimates of GDP

Greater than full time: more than 40 hours per week; see Work schedules

Growth rate: the percent change in the number of jobs added or lost in a U.S. occupation or industry over a given projection period; growth rate adjectives used in the OOH are defined by the following percent changes for the 2014–2024 employment projections:

  • much faster than the average: 14 percent or more
  • faster than the average: 9 percent to 13 percent
  • as fast as the average: 5 percent to 8 percent
  • slower than the average: 2 percent to 4 percent
  • little or no change: –1 percent to 1 percent
  • decline: –2 percent or more

Back to top

H

High school diploma or equivalent: award or credential that is equivalent to a high school diploma; see Education

Household: all persons who occupy a housing unit such as an apartment or a single-family home

Back to top

I

Important qualities: characteristics and personality traits that are likely needed for workers to be successful in given occupations

Industry: a group of establishments that produce similar products or provide similar services; see North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) 

Injury and illness rate: ratio expressing the number of workers sustaining a wound, strain, or infection due to an incident or exposure at the workplace per 100 workers; the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) considers an injury or illness to be work related if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a preexisting condition; in general, a Handbook profile will cite an injury and illness rate only if it is particularly high compared with the rate for all other occupations

Internship: training under supervision in a professional setting. This category does not include internships that are suggested for advancement; see On-the-job training

Back to top

J

Job: a specific instance of employment; a position of employment to be filled at an establishment; see Employment

Job openings: employment vacancies; job openings occur when occupations grow, creating new jobs, and when workers leave an occupation permanently, resulting in the need to replace them

Job outlook: a statement that conveys the projected rate of growth or decline in employment in an occupation over the next 10 years; also compares the projected growth rate with that projected for all other occupations; see Growth rate

Job prospects: a qualitative measure of the competition for jobs that takes into consideration factors such as the growth or decline in the number of jobs, the expected number of qualified workers, and/or the expected number of applicants; a comparison of the number of jobs with the number of potential workers and jobseekers

Back to top

K

Back to top

L

Labor force: the sum of all persons 16 years and older in the civilian noninstitutional population who are either employed, or unemployed but available for work and actively looking for work

Less than 5 years (of work experience in a related occupation): the number of years of experience in a related occupation typically needed for entry into a given occupation; see Work experience in a related occupation

Licenses: permissions granted by government agencies or other accrediting bodies that allow someone to work in a particular occupation or perform certain duties

Long-term on-the-job training: more than 12 months of on-the-job training, or, alternatively, combined work experience and formal classroom instruction (not including apprenticeships), that is needed for the worker to attain competency in the skills needed in the occupation; see On-the-job training

Back to top

M

Master’s degree: degree awarded usually for 1 or 2 years of full-time academic study beyond a bachelor’s degree; see Education

Mean: the mathematical average of a set of numbers, calculated by adding the numbers and dividing the total by the number of numbers summed; see Average

Median: the middle number in an ordered list of numbers

Moderate-term on-the-job training: More than 1 month, and up to 12 months, of combined on-the-job experience and informal training that is needed for the worker to attain competency in the skills needed in the occupation; see On-the-job training

Back to top

N

New job: an addition of a position to an establishment’s payroll, usually as a result of economic expansion

No formal educational credential: signifies that a formal credential issued by an educational institution, such as a high school diploma or postsecondary certificate, is not typically needed for entry into the occupation; e.g., janitors and cleaners, cashiers, and agricultural equipment operators; see Education

None (on-the-job training): no additional occupation-specific training or preparation is typically required to attain competency in an occupation; see On-the-job training

None (work experience in a related occupation): no work experience in a related occupation is typically required to enter a given occupation; see Work experience in a related occupation

Nonfixed work schedules: schedules of employees who work different hours on one job; often used to accommodate particular traits of individual workers or because the work required by the employer varies for each individual; see Work schedules

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS): industry classification system used by federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. economy

Number of jobs: number of actual instances of employment, according to the BLS National Employment Matrix; see www.bls.gov/emp/ep_projections_methods.htm for more information about the Matrix

Numeric change in employment: a projected change in the number of jobs in an occupation or industry

Back to top

O

Occupation: a craft, trade, profession, or other means of earning a living. Also, a set of activities or tasks that employees are paid to perform and that, together, go by a certain name. Employees who are in the same occupation perform essentially the same tasks, whether or not they work in the same industry

O*NET: an online research source that provides detailed descriptions of occupations for use by jobseekers, workforce development and human resources professionals, students, and researchers. Created for the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, by the National Center for O*NET Development

On-the-job training: training or preparation that is typically needed, once employed in an occupation, to attain competency in the occupation. Training is occupation specific rather than job specific; skills learned can be transferred to another job in the same occupation.

Internship/Residency: training that involves preparation in a field such as medicine or teaching, generally under supervision in a professional setting, such as a hospital or classroom. This type of training may occur before one is employed. Completion of an internship or residency program is commonly required for state licensure or certification in a number of fields, including medicine, counseling, architecture, and teaching. This category does not include internships that are suggested for advancement.

Apprenticeship: a formal relationship between a worker and sponsor that consists of a combination of on-the-job training and related occupation-specific instruction in which the worker learns the practical and theoretical aspects of an occupation. Apprenticeship programs are sponsored by individual employers, joint employer-and-labor groups, and employee associations. Apprenticeship programs usually provide at least 144 hours of occupation-specific technical instruction and 2,000 hours of on-the-job training per year over a 3- to-5-year period. Examples of occupations that utilize apprenticeships include electricians and structural iron and steel workers.

Long-term on-the-job training: more than 12 months of on-the-job training, or, alternatively, combined work experience and formal classroom instruction, that is needed for workers to develop the skills to attain competency in an occupation. This on-the-job training category also includes employer-sponsored training programs, such as those offered by fire academies and schools for air traffic controllers. In other occupations—nuclear power reactor operators, for example—trainees take formal courses, often provided at the jobsite, to prepare for the required licensing exams. This category also includes occupations in which workers typically need to possess a natural ability or talent—musicians and singers, athletes, dancers, photographers, and actors, among others—and that ability or talent must be cultivated over several years, sometimes in a nonwork setting. The category excludes apprenticeships.

Moderate-term on-the-job training: more than 1 month, and up to 12 months, of combined on-the-job experience and informal training that is needed for the worker to develop the skills to attain competency in the occupation; this on-the-job training category also includes employer-sponsored training programs.

Short-term on-the-job training: 1 month or less of combined on-the-job experience and informal training that is needed for the worker to develop the skills to attain competency in the occupation; this on-the-job training category also includes employer-sponsored training programs.

None: no additional occupation-specific training or preparation is typically required to attain competency in the occupation.

Back to top

P

Part time: less than 35 hours of work per week, according to the Current Population Survey; see Work schedules

Pay: earnings or wages of a worker or a group of workers for services performed during a specific period—for example, hourly, daily, weekly, or annually; also see Earnings, Wages

Percent: one part in a hundred. For example, 62 percent (also written 62%) means 62 parts out of 100

Percent change in employment: growth rates expressed as percentages

Percentile wage estimate: the value of a wage below which a certain percentage of workers fall

Personal consumption: total goods and services purchased by individuals in the U.S. economy; the amount of goods and services used or purchased by individuals or households in the U.S. economy; a key statistic in measuring or calculating overall GDP

Population: the total number of inhabitants of the United States; also, the total number of observations under consideration in a statistical study

Postsecondary nondegree award: a certificate or other credential that is awarded by an educational institution upon completion of formal postsecondary schooling. (The postsecondary nondegree certificate is different from certifications issued by professional organizations or certifying bodies.) Postsecondary nondegree award programs may last from just a few weeks to 2 years. Examples of those who need postsecondary nondegree awards are nursing assistants, emergency medical technicians (EMT’s) and paramedics, and hairstylists; see Education

Back to top

Q

Qualifications: personality traits, education, training, work experience, or other qualities workers need to enter an occupation

Qualities: characteristics and personality traits that are likely needed for workers to be successful in given occupations

Back to top

R

Related occupations: occupations that have similar job duties; see Similar occupations

Replacement needs: the number of projected job openings expected to result from workers who retire or permanently leave an occupation; replacement needs are calculated from monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) data

Replacement rate: the rate at which workers permanently leave the occupations in which they are employed; large occupations that have high replacement rates need many workers to fill jobs that are vacated

Residency: training under supervision in a professional setting; see On-the-job training

Rotating work schedules: schedules that have a fixed number of hours and time off over a period of more than 1 week, but not a set weekly schedule; see Work schedules

Back to top

S

Salary: earnings of a worker or a group of workers for services performed during a specific period—for example, an hourly straight-time wage rate or, for workers not paid on an hourly basis, straight-time earnings divided by hours worked

Seasonal employment: employment that is not expected to last a full year, but that may reoccur; for example, many retail sales associates are hired only for the busy holiday season, and forest firefighters are more likely to be employed during the summer months, when vegetation is dryer 

Self-employed: those who work for profit or fees in their own business, profession, trade, or farm; only the unincorporated self-employed are included in the self-employed category

Short-term on-the-job training: 1 month or less of on-the-job experience and informal training; see On-the-job training

Similar occupations: occupations that tend to share common daily tasks or require similar skills, rather than similar wages or education

Some college, no degree: a high school diploma or equivalent, plus the completion of one or more postsecondary courses that did not result in a degree or award; see Education

Standard Occupational Classification (SOC): the coding system used by all federal statistical agencies to classify workers into occupational categories for the purpose of collecting, calculating, or disseminating data

Supply of workers: the number of people in the labor force; for most occupations, the supply of workers is smaller than the total number in the labor force because the supply is limited to those with particular education or training requirements

Back to top

T

Training: see On-the-job training

Back to top

U

Undergraduate degree: bachelor’s degree or associate’s degree; see Education

Union membership: the group of workers who join labor unions, hold union memberships, and enjoy benefits of the organized, coordinated efforts of the union to improve the work environment; also, status of being a member of a union

Back to top

V

Vocational school: a secondary school that teaches vocational trades, such as construction trades; vocational schools may or may not award degrees

Back to top

W

Wages: earnings or pay of a worker or a group of workers for services performed during a specific period—for example, hourly, daily, weekly, or annually; also see Earnings, Pay

Work experience in a related occupation: the level of work experience in an occupation related to a given occupation; the work experience captures work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers or is a commonly accepted substitute for other, more formal types of training or education

Five years or more: the number of years of experience in a related occupation typically needed for entry into a given occupation is more than 5 years

Less than 5 years: the number of years of experience in a related occupation typically needed for entry into a given occupation is less than 5 years

None: No work experience in a related occupation is typically needed for entry into a given occupation

Work schedules: the number of daily hours, weekly hours, and annual weeks that employees in an occupation are scheduled to, and do, work. Short-term fluctuations and one-time events are not considered unless the change becomes permanent

Fixed work schedules: schedules under which employees who work those schedules do so on a continual basis, such as 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Flexible work schedules: schedules under which employees set their own hours within guidelines and with a fixed number of total hours

Nonfixed work schedules: schedules of employees who work different hours on one job; often utilized to accommodate particular traits of individual workers or because the work required varies by individual

Rotating work schedules: schedules that have a fixed number of hours and time off over a period of more than 1 week, but not the same set hours

Full time: between 35 and 40 hours, inclusive, of work per week

Greater than full time: more than 40 hours of work per week

Part time: Less than 35 hours of work per week

Back to top

X, Y, Z

Back to top

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Glossary,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/about/glossary.htm (visited September 27, 2016).

Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015