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November 2005, Vol. 128, No. 11
A summary of BLS projections to 2014
Norman C. Saunders
The employment outlook to 2014 is the subject of a series of four articles appearing in this issue. The 2014 projections are the 19th in a series of biennial examinations of the aggregate economy; labor force by age, sex, race, and ethnicity; and industry and occupational employment.1 The following four articles present a detailed picture of U.S. employment trends as they are likely to evolve over the 2004–14 decade under the assumptions used to develop those projections. The articles update the 2002–12 projections published in February 2004. The outlook presentations form the basis for updated Internet and print editions of the Occupational Outlook Handbook, Career Guide to Industries, and Occupational Projections and Training Data. This article presents a synopsis of the conclusions of the four articles, a short statement of methods, a summary of what is new in this round of projections, and some thoughts about those factors which might pose the greatest risks to the accuracy of the projections.
Summary of articles
Aggregate economy. In the first article of the series, Betty Su examines the overall economic outlook for the coming decade (pages 10–24). Gross domestic product (GDP), which measures the sales of domestically-produced goods and services to final users, is projected to grow by an annual average rate of 3.1 percent between 2004 and 2014. (See table 1.) Consumer spending continues to account for more than 70 percent of GDP and is projected to grow at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in real terms. Gross private domestic investment is expected to grow 4.7 percent annually between 2004 and 2014. As the dollar continues an expected depreciation against the currencies in major trading partner countries, exports are projected to grow more strongly than the growth they have exhibited in the 10 years preceding the projections. Conversely, imports are expected to grow less rapidly than during the past decade. On the Government side, a slow but deliberate increase in Federal defense spending is projected throughout the projection period, offset by like declines in nondefense spending. State and local government is projected to grow at 2 percent annually, slowing a bit from the 1994–2004 period, when it grew by 2.7 percent each year in chained 2000 dollars.
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1 The 19 projection groups span projections to 1970, published in 1966, to the current projections to 2014 and represent the unified aggregate, labor force, industry, and occupational demand estimates presented as a linked set of outlook estimates. The occupational demand projections predate these unified sets of projections by 17 years, as the first Occupational Outlook Handbook was published in 1949. See the series of articles in the May 1999 issue of the Monthly Labor Review, on the Internet at www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/1999/05/contents.htm, for a comprehensive look at the history of the occupational projections program in BLS.
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