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Low, 21.6%

High, 33.2%

Middle, 45.2%

Another measure of occupational demand is net job growth, the change in number of jobs in an occupational field over time. BLS projects that net growth in professional and managerial jobs as well as in service jobs will exceed net growth in middle occupational categories. But substantial growth in the middle categories is still expected. For example, net job growth in the broad fields of transportation, construction, and maintenance/repair is projected at 11 to 12 percent over the next decade, only slightly below expected average growth for all jobs (12.9 percent).

The projections for detailed occupations point to average or above-average growth in several high-wage job categories that require education and training at the middle level. For instance, expected net growth is:

  • About 20 percent in computer specialist jobs (generating more than 1 million job openings);

  • 20 to 40 percent in a range of health care jobs with sub-baccalaureate education requirements (generating over 1.5 million job openings);

  • 10 to15 percent in the skilled construction trades (providing 4.6 million job openings); and

  • 10 to 15 percent in installation/maintenance/repair and transportation (also generating more than 4 million job openings).

All in all, these projections clearly demonstrate that ample employment opportunities will remain in a variety of good-paying jobs in the middle of the labor market over the next decade and beyond.

How do these projections of future demand for workers at varying levels of education and training stack up against expectations of the distribution of the supply of workers? A 2003 report by the Aspen Institute, using projections generated by David Ellwood of Harvard, offers a good starting point for expected levels of educational attainment over the two decades beginning in 2000 (Figure 3). Using education as a proxy for skills, the projections indicate a dramatic slowdown in the growth of skills over the next two decades, at both the top and middle of the labor market. In


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