Is a Skills Shortage Coming? A Review of BLS Occupational Projections to 2005
Author(s)Bishop, John H.
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AbstractThe Bureau of Labor Statistics projections of occupational employment growth have consistently underpredicted the growth of skilled occupations. BLS currently projects that professional, technical and managerial jobs will account for 40.9 percent of employment growth between 1990 and 2005. Forecasting regressions predict, to the contrary, that these occupations will account for 53 to 68 percent of employment growth through the year 2005. Between 1986 and 1991 these occupations, in fact, accounted for 64 percent of employment growth. The BLS's projections of the supply/demand balance for college graduates have also been off the mark--predicting a surplus for the 1980s when in fact a shortage developed and relative wage ratios for college graduates rose to all time highs. I project a slowdown in the growth of college educated workers during the 1990s and a continuing escalation of wage premiums for college graduates.