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In its newest forecast, Employment Projections 2012-2022, the BLS predicts that total employment will rise 10.8 percent, or by 15.6 million jobs, between 2012 and 2022. That’s an annual growth rate of 0.5 percent per year, down from 0.7 percent annually in the previous decade.
Despite the slower-growth pace, there are plenty of opportunities for professionals in certain fields. During the 2012-22 time frame, the BLS expects 50.6 million total job openings, with the bulk of those (67.2 percent) coming from “replacement” needs (i.e., openings created by churn, retirements or other actions resulting in vacancies). For example, the field of human resource workers will grow modestly, by 32,500 new jobs, between 2012 and 2022, the BLS reports. But during that time, 123,700 total new positions will also be created, the majority of which will represent replacement needs.
HR Employment Projections, 2012-22 (numbers in thousands)
Total Job Openings(from growth, replacements)
Compensation & Benefits Managers
Training & Development Managers
Human Resource Workers
-Human Resource Specialists
-Labor Relations Specialists
Training & Development Specialists
Human Resource Assistants
Source:U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Some HR-related fields are even expected to shrink by 2022, but employers will still need thousands of new workers, based on retirements and other replacement situations. For example, while the field of human resource assistants (not including payroll and timekeeping workers) is forecast to decline by 1,600 workers between 2012 and 2022, 37,100 openings will arise during that period, according to the BLS.
Other HR fields that will see a surge in jobs, whether due to new growth or replacements, are training and development specialists (77,200 new openings) and human resource managers (40,600 openings).
In approximately four out of five occupations overall, openings from replacement needs will exceed those from growth, the BLS reports. Although many people are, in fact, staying on the job longer—workers ages 55 and older will represent 25.6 percent of the labor force in 2022, up from 20.9 percent in 2012—the wave of Baby Boomer retirements and turnover from workers changing careers will, ultimately, create many other opportunities.
So where are some of the best growth areas in the labor market in the next decade? The health care and social-assistance-sector is forecast to grow 2.6 percent annually, for a total of 5 million new jobs by 2022. That amounts to nearly one-third of the total increase in jobs created, due in part to the aging U.S. population and anticipated need for more health care workers.
And, after a dreadful stretch during the Great Recession, the construction industry is expected to be a top contributing job creator in the near future, according to the BLS. Employment in that sector is expected to rise 2.6 percent annually, yielding 1.6 million new jobs between 2012 and 2022.
For more information, visit SHRM’s Labor Market and Economic Data page.
Joseph Coombs is a senior analyst for workforce trends at SHRM.
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