This time two years ago, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) sought comments on a proposed new method for projecting occupation separations and therefore job openings. BLS has since announced that it will be implementing this new methodology for their 2016-2026 projections—typically released in December 2017. What appears as a fairly innocuous FYI, actually has deeply profound implications on how we will view our future workforce and the needs of employers—represented through demand for labor.
The new proposed methodology suggests that the number of annual openings (a measure of demand for workers) will be nearly 5X greater over the next 10 years than previous estimates indicated—this is primarily driven by job separations and the need to replace workers. To put this in context, BLS projects 4.65 million annual job openings, using the old method. BLS has revised the way it tracks job openings to better account for job leavers, which may occur due to promotion, career transition, and other factors. This is very important because the methodology recognizes new opportunities for job applicants at multiple points in their career ladder. For comparison, under the new methodology, BLS estimates 17.7 million annual job openings!
So what? The change in methodology is designed to more accurately reflect occupational demand across the U.S. This has insightful implications on skill needs and subsequent strategies that can help economic developers communicate their workforce competitiveness; ensure employers have access to the right talent; align education and training programs; and assist connecting individuals to career opportunities—ultimately, enabling cross-organizational collaboration.
Oxford Economics is well positioned to equip your organization—be it economic development, workforce investment, education or talent research—to understand the implications of this change, model these projected shifts and develop forward thinking strategies to position you ahead of the pack. Our experience in connecting macro-level forecasts with regional data to uncover key strategic insight for use at the community-level has helped organizations ranging from higher education systems to economic development corporations. We would be delighted to connect with you and support your organization in achieving its mission and goals.
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