Data Sources and Limitations

for Occupational Projections

Every two years, the Oregon Employment Department undertakes the task of projecting employment by occupation 10 years into the future. These employment projections are developed with several goals in mind:

  • to determine a justifiable, accurate, projected employment growth rate that closely mimics the actual growth rate,
  • to develop accurate, broad occupational trends,
  • to determine which occupations will be high-growth occupations, and
  • to determine which occupations will decline.
The projections are not calculated in order to pinpoint precise employment levels 10 years down the road, but rather to point students, job and career changers, counselors, planners, policy makers, and others in the right direction. The over-riding goal is to have all of the above-named customers guided toward occupations in which there will be considerable job openings and away from occupations that are in long-term decline or are expected to have few openings.

The occupational employment projections are based primarily on three sets of data: 1) industrial employment projections, 2) an annual occupational survey of employers, and 3) national change factors (data used to identify economic changes not captured in the first two sets of data). In all phases of developing these projections, a degree of analyst judgment is incorporated.

Projections for each region are made independently, and may not necessarily sum to values listed for Oregon as a whole.

Explanation of Projected Annual Job Openings

Change Openings

Change openings are due to employment growth within an occupation and represent the difference between the current and projected employment in the occupation.

Replacement Openings

A replacement opening is a job opening caused by an existing worker leaving an occupation. Reasons for leaving an occupation include retirement, major occupational changes, disability, death, or caring for family. More job openings are created due to turnover caused by people who change jobs while remaining within the occupation. Turnover openings are not included in replacement openings.

Total job openings are the sum of change openings and replacement openings