Every year the U.S. Department of Labor conducts a national survey of over 400,000
employers in every state and in all industry divisions. This survey is conducted
through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program. Every other year the
department publishes outlook information based on these surveys.
Each outlook period covers 10 years. For example, in 2003 the outlook information
was published for 2004-2014. Employers are asked to report the number of employees
in about 770 different occupations that cover the entire U.S. labor market.
From this information, staffing patterns for different industries are established.
Industry growth is projected into the future based on past trends and current economic
conditions. Industry staffing patterns are then applied to the industry projections
to obtain occupational projections.
In many cases, these occupations are broad enough to cover many more detailed specialties
of an occupation. A specific occupation may be included in a broader occupational
category for which labor market data is available. When you look at the statistics
for a broad category, be aware that the employment data for a specific field may
For more details about how employment information is collected and calculated by
the U.S. Department of Labor, visit their website at http://stats.bls.gov/news.release/ocwage.tn.htm.