National Long-Term Jobs Outlook

By Charles J. Lehman

Employment prospects, especially the long-term outlook for specific career fields, are an important consideration in any career decision. Career development professionals use this information in advising their clients as part of the career decision making process. This applies to both students and others entering the job market, or experienced workers transitioning to a new occupational field. The best sources for this information are government reports issued by the federal and state government labor agencies. Understanding the labor market, occupational information and trends and being able to use current resources, is a competency that career professionals are expected to master (NCDA, n.d.)

The primary agency responsible for national employment projections is the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in the U.S. Department of Labor. This agency releases the highly regarded official job forecasts for the US. economy every two years. State outlook reports are made by the state labor departments and often mirror the national outlook. In September 2023, the BLS released national projections for 2022-2032 detailing the expected changes in the labor force, industries, and occupations over the next ten years. The BLS’ publication, the Occupational Outlook Handbook, and similar government publications disseminate this information, serving as foundational sources for numerous private sector analyses and media reports. Key developments will concentrate in select industries and occupations.

Future Work Trends 2022-2032

The BLS projects the US economy will gain nearly five million jobs by 2032, reaching a total of 169 million jobs over the decade. This is a three percent increase, slower than the previous 10 years due to a declining growth rate in the labor force and an increase in automation. Regardless of this slight slowdown there will still be job opportunities in almost all industries and occupations, and substantial numbers in healthcare and information technology.

  • Nearly half of the new jobs will be in health care and social services, primarily due to a large increase in an older population with more chronic health conditions. Almost half of these new jobs will be home health and personal care aides totaling 800,000 workers or one in every six new jobs. Another 120,000 jobs will be nurse practitioners, with significant growth also in health care managers, physician’s assistants, therapists, and therapy aides.
  • The information technology industry is expected to have rapid growth due to online shopping; additional internet, applications, cloud and customized software expansion; cybersecurity remediation and artificial intelligence applications. Software developers alone are projected to increase by 500,000 workers.
  • Manufacturing jobs will experience a decline due to automation processes. However, there should be significant growth in computer and semiconductor chip manufacturing. 
  • Renewable energy includes two of the fastest growing occupations: wind turbine technicians and solar panel installers.  However, these occupations are still relatively small job fields with less than an additional 12,000 workers over the 10-year period.
     Istock 1600582956 Credit Serhii Hryshchyshen

Trends in Salary Compensation

A consideration for many job seekers is the salary offered in different career fields. Current wage levels by major occupational groups indicate workers in management positions receive the most pay, earning a median annual salary of $107,000. Computer professionals closely follow, earning just over $100,000 annually. Health care practitioners such as physicians, nurses, and therapists and technicians are at $78,000 and health care support workers such as aides make $34,000.

Best Occupations for Growth and Salary

There are a limited number of occupations requiring post-secondary training projected to have more than 50,000 job openings each year and salaries of more than $60,000 annually.

  • In the general business and administrative sectors these are accountants and financial managers, management analysts, project managers, and human resource specialists;
  • For the health industry, these occupations are medical care managers, registered nurses, and nurse practitioners;
  • In the information technology sector, these are computer managers, software developers, and data scientists; and lawyers.

Job growth is not the only source of job openings. Placement and turnover due to workers retiring or leaving the labor force or moving to other occupational fields result in many more opportunities even in declining industries and occupations. State labor tables show the total job openings due to both growth and this replacement factor.

Career development professionals can find these detailed projections and more to help their client in the career decision making process within the Occupational Outlook Handbook at www.bls.gov/ooh. This source provides job outlook and duties, educational and training requirements, wages, sources for similar state projections, and other employment information for nearly 300 industries and over 800 occupations.



Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. (n.d.). Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/ooh/

National Career Development Association. (n.d.). List of competencies. https://associationdatabase.com/aws/NCDA/asset_manager/get_file/631290?ver=0


Charles LehmanCharles J. Lehman is the Director of a New Mexico economic consulting company specializing in workforce issues and needs. He served as the Treasurer on the NCDA Board of Trustees and is also a charter member of the New Mexico Career Development Association. He is retired from the New Mexico Department of Labor where he worked on economic research and workforce program implementation. He has degrees in economics and mathematics from the University of New Mexico and has served as an Air Force officer. He can be reached at charles.j.lehman@gmail.com

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