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August 1984, Vol. 107, No. 8
An evaluation of BLS projections
of 1980 industry employment
The Bureau of Labor Statistics periodically publishes projections of gross national product (GNP) and output and employment by industry. These projections provide a framework for BLS occupational projection program as well as for employment analysis of energy, housing, transportation, and defense issues. This article is a final step in the projection processevaluation of the projections of the 1980 economy. Evaluation is an important part of the projection program, for only after the projected period has run its course can we quantify the limitations of our projected data.
BLS published three projections of the 1980 economy.1 Those published in April 1970 underestimated employment (including military) in 1980 by 4.0 percent; those published in December 1973 underestimated employment by 0.9 percent; and those published in 1976 underestimated employment by 1.4 percent. These errors were kept modest by offsetting estimates: for example, an underestimate of labor force growth was offset by an underestimate of the unemployment rate. The 1980 recession slightly increased the gap between projected and actual employment.
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1 The initial projections of the 1980 economy were described in "The U.S. economy inn 1980: a preview of BLS projections." Monthly Labor Review, April 1970, pp. 3-34, and in Patterns of U.S. Economic Growth, Bulleting 1672 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1970). The second projections of the 1980 economy were described in "Projections of GNP, income, output, and employment." Monthly Labor Review, December 1973, pp. 27-42; The U.S. Economy in 1985, Bulletin 1809 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1974); and The Structure of the U.S. Economy in 1980 and 1985, Bulletin 1831 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1975). The third projections were described in Ronald E. Kutscher, "Revised GNP projections to 1980 and 1985; an overview," Monthly Labor Review, March 1976, pp. 9-21; Thomas J. Mooney and John H. Tschetter, "Revised projections to 1985," Monthly Labor Review, November 1976, pp. 3-9; and Max L. Carey, "Revised occupational projections to 1985," Monthly Labor Review, November 1976, pp. 10-22.
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