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Spring 2012
Vol. 56, Number 1
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Employment projections for occupational groups that declined during the recession

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In the 2007–09 recession, some occupations lost a significant number of jobs. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show which occupations are expected to recover quickly—and which aren't.

The chart shows percentage of employment from the 2006 levels for the nine occupational groups in which employment declined by at least 2 percent between 2006 and 2010. When the index level goes below 100, this indicates that the occupational group's employment is lower than the 2006 level. In contrast, when the index is above 100, this indicates the occupational group's employment is higher than the 2006 level.

Although each group on the chart lost jobs between 2006 and 2010, some were hit harder than others. For example, the construction and extraction occupations group lost almost 25 percent of its jobs between 2006 and 2010, while the building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations group lost less than 5 percent.

All but one of the groups—fishing, farming, and forestry occupations—are projected to gain jobs between 2010 and 2020. Despite growth, however, several occupational groups—production, construction and extraction, and transportation and material moving—are not projected to return to 2006 employment levels by 2020. For example, in 2020, the construction and extraction occupations group is projected to have 93 percent of the almost 8.3 million jobs it had in 2006.

Data in this chart are from the BLS Employment Projections program. More information about the employment projections is available by emailing, calling (202) 691-5700, or visiting at

Employment trends for occupational groups that declined during the recession, 2006–10 and projected 2020

Quits versus layoffs and discharges, seasonally adjusted, December 2000 to June 2011

Note: Shaded area denotes recession as determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). BLS does not project interim years to the 2020 projection point.

Source: BLS, Current Employment Statistics (historical data) and Employment Projections (2020 data).

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U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Last Updated: March 28, 2012