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May 1999, Vol. 122, No. 5
The early history of the Occupational Outlook HandbookHarold Goldstein
More than a half century ago, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) embarked on a research program that was unique in two major respects. First, it served a group of consumers new to BLSthe educational community, including young people in schools. Second, it undertook to predict the futurean activity out of character and, indeed, more than a little uncomfortable for a staid and sober Federal agency that prides itself on its reputation for statistical reliability.
The new research activity was the occupational outlook program, which bridges the disciplines of economics and education. Linking those two fields was the concept of an "occupation"a bundle of skills embodied in a worker who is in the labor market.1 This article recounts the background against which this highly respected BLS program developed, and some of its early history.
This excerpt is from an article published in the May 1999 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 We are indebted for this insight to the late Avner Hovne of the Ministry of Labor of Israel.
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