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November 1991, Vol. 114, No. 11
New BLS projections: findings and implications
Ronald E. Kutscher
Every other year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics develops three alternative projections of the U.S. economy. This issue of the Monthly Labor Review presents the latest set, covering the 1990-2005 period. BLS projects the labor force by age, sex, and race and Hispanic origin; growth in real gross national product (GNP) and by major demand category; changes in employment and output by industry; and changes in employment by occupation. Each topic is discussed in separate articles in this issue of the Review. To prepare a detailed set of projections requires making a number of assumptions, also described in each article.
This article summarizes the major findings from each topic and highlights some important implications flowing from the projections, including (1) education and training needed for the projected jobs, (2) variation in job opportunities for those with different levels of education, (3) the range of the three alternatives prepared by BLS and their employment and other implications, and (4) the changing race, age, and sex mix of the labor force.
Gross national product
Moderate scenario. The projected growth in real gross national product (GNP) from 1990 to 2005 is 2.3 percent a year (in 1982 dollars) in the moderate scenario. This compares with the 1975-90 annual real GNP growth rate of 2.9 percent. Thus, these projections suggest a pronounced slowing in the rate of GNP growth. Almost all of the slowdown is a result of slower labor force growth-projected at 1.3 percent per year during 1990-2005, compared with 1.9 percent annual growth over the 1975-90 period. Another important factor affecting GNP growth is productivity, which is not projected to change appreciably from its 1975-90 rate of growth. Further, part of the projected slowdown simply reflects that 1975 was a cyclical low, so the two periods 1975-90 and 1990-2005 are in many ways difficult to compare directly.1
Inasmuch as real GNP is projected to grow at about three-quarters of the rate of growth of the prior 15-year period, it is to be expected that many of the GNP demand categories will reflect a similar slowdown. A review of the demand components of GNP reveals that this is true for personal consumption expenditures, exports, and producers' durable equipment. (See table 1.) An even sharper slowdown is expected for imports and for residential and nonresidential construction. Further, a significant change in direction is projected for Federal defense expenditures from substantial growth over the 1975-90 period to a projected moderate decline during the 1990-2005 period. Very modest increases in growth rates are expected for State and local government and for Federal nondefense expenditures.
This excerpt is from an article published in the November 1991 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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1 See Norman C. Saunders, "The U.S. economy into the 21st century," pp. 13-30.
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