Facts About Workforce Development

Facts About Workforce Development

The labor force is growing more slowly

A substantial slowdown in the pace of labor force growth is projected for the 2015-25 period as the baby-boom generation retires. The baby-boom generation was born from 1946-1964. The oldest baby boomers turn 55 in 2001.

The labor force is getting older

The median age of the labor force is rising. One-fifth of men in the labor force are veterans. The median age of these workers is 50 years, compared with 39 years for nonveterans.

More women are working today than in the past

Women now account for 47 percent of the labor force, up from 40 percent in 1975. Among married-couple families where both the wife and the husband work, about one-fifth of the wives earn more than their husbands.

Minorities are the fastest growing part of the labor force

Asians and Hispanics have the fastest labor force growth primarily because of immigration. White non-Hispanics will still be the largest labor force group, accounting for about 71 percent of the labor force in 2008. Hispanics will account for 13 percent, black non- Hispanic for about 11 percent, and Asians and other groups for about 5 percent.

Immigrants are found at the high and low ends of the education scale

Only about 7 percent of 25-34 year old workers born in the U.S. have not completed high school. In contrast, about 26 percent of recent immigrants in that age group have not obtained a high school diploma. At the same time recent immigrants age 25-34 are more than twice as likely as their U.S. counterparts to have a master's or higher degree.

Education Pays

College graduates age 25 and over earn nearly twice as much as workers who stopped with a high school diploma.

Some jobs with above-average earnings do not require a bachelor's degree, but most requires substantial training

Workers could develop the skills needed after a completed demonstration of on-the-job experience or instruction. On-the-Job Training programs require different lengths of time for completion which could range from short term, moderate to long term of up to 6 calendar months of job training or combined work experience and classroom instruction. Individuals can also complete a short-term certificate, diploma or degree in a high-demand, high-wage field such as welding, and be job-ready within months.

Workers with computer skills are in demand

Of the 10 fastest growing occupations, the top 5 are computer related.

The ten occupations that will generate the most jobs range widely in their skills requirements

Systems analysts, retail salespersons, cashiers, general managers and top executives, truck drivers, office clerks, register nurses, computer support specialists, personal care and home health aides, teacher assistants are the ten occupations projected to add a total of about 5 million jobs during the 1998-2008 period, nearly one fourth of the projected job growth over the decade.

Benefits account for more than one-quarter of total compensation

Legally required benefits (Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment Insurance Benefits, insurance, and workers' compensation) account for the largest share of benefit costs- nearly three tenths of the total.

Retiring plans are changing

With more retirement plan choices, today's workers are increasingly responsible for their own retirement planning. About half of all American families owned publicly traded stock in 1998; the proportion had been only one-third a decade earlier. Families own stock in many different ways - through direct ownership, mutual funds, retirement accounts, or other managed assets.

Workers will be supporting more Social Security recipients

The Social Security Administration expects that before the middle of the 21st century there will be only two workers for every Social Security beneficiary; as recently as 1960 there were five workers for every beneficiary.

The trend in years spent with an employer is down for men and up for women

Over the last two decades, the number of years men have been with their employer has fallen. In contrast, the number of years women have been with their employer has risen slightly.

The temporary help industry has grown rapidly

The number of jobs in the temporary help industry grew sharply for much of the 1980s and 1990s. The industry accounts for less than 3 percent of total non-farm employment. Workers employed by temporary help agencies work in all sectors of the economy, but notably in the services and manufacturing industries.

The most common alternative employment arrangement is independent contractor

About 13 million people work under alternative employment arrangements, as independent contractors, temporary help workers, contract workers, or on-call workers.

Most mothers work

Nearly three-quarters of all mothers are in the labor force. Even among mothers with very young children, more than sixty percent are in the labor force. Unmarried mothers are more likely than married mother s to work.

Married couples are working longer

Among married couples, the combined weekly hours of husbands and wives are rising. In 1969, couples age 25-54 worked an average of 56 hours a week. By 2000, this has increased to 67 hours. The increase mostly reflects the fact that more and more women are working, with those who work increasingly likely to be employed year round.

The workplace is becoming safer

A total of 5.7 million injuries and illnesses occurred in private industry workplaces in 1999. This resulted in the lowest rate recorded (6.3 cases fro every 100 full time workers) since Federal data collection began in the early 1970's. Highway crashes are the leading cause of on-the-job fatalities. Falls are the second-leading cause of workplace deaths, and homicides are third.

Source: Katharine G. Abraham, Commissioner, Bureau of Labor and Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor