Specific Technological Assumptions Affecting the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 1995 Employment Projections

OCE-85-2: Published: May 20, 1985. Publicly Released: May 20, 1985.

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GAO found that BLS uses five interdependent economic models to generate its employment projections which include: (1) a labor force model; (2) a macroeconomic model; (3) an industry activity model; (4) an industry labor demand model; and (5) an occupational labor demand model. During the course of the process, BLS makes subjective adjustments to the parameters of these models and resulting projections to incorporate information about technology, productivity, and other trends and performs a number of iterations to ensure that the results of the models are internally consistent. In making the projections, BLS uses both general and technology-related assumptions, and the technology-related assumptions concern both the anticipated rates of development and the anticipated rates of dispersal of new technologies throughout industries. BLS projections for employment in 40 occupations with the largest projected job growth from 1982 to 1995 range from an increase of about 16 percent for typists to about 85 percent for computer systems analysts. In addition, GAO found that BLS maintains an extensive amount of internally developed resource information and uses external documents to develop these assumptions; however, it is not possible to determine the quantitative effect of any specific assumption on the BLS final employment projections.

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