Data Sources and Limitations for Occupational Projections

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

Growth openings are due to net growth in the occupation

Growth openings represent the net difference between current and projected employment in the occupation. Growth openings are one of two sources of demand for new workers in the occupation.

Replacement openings are due to workers leaving the occupation

A replacement opening is a job opening caused by an existing worker leaving the occupation. Reasons for leaving an occupation include retirement, changing occupations, death, and disability. Like growth openings, replacement openings are a source of demand for new workers in the occupation. The replacement openings shown in the table are "replacement openings," the minimum number of replacement job openings that will need to be filled by new entrants to the occupation – those who do not work in the occupation. Substantially more job openings are likely to be available due to the many additional replacement openings beyond the "net" figure and to the many other "turnover" job openings caused by people who change jobs while remaining within the occupation.

Total job openings are the sum of growth and net replacement openings

The data in the total job openings column are the sums of the data in the growth and replacement columns. Due to rounding, the total may be one job opening higher or lower than the sum of the rounded detail.