Employment projections provide job seekers, policy makers and training providers an idea of how many jobs exist within industries and occupations, how the number of jobs are expected to change over time and what the future demand for workers will be.

Our projections show expected change in employment by industry and occupation, the current and projected employment counts, estimated growth rates and average annual openings.

We develop short-, medium- and long-term projections.

  • Short-term projections are two-year projections.
  • Medium-term projections are five-year projections.
  • Long-term projections are 10-year projections.

We revise the projections annually.

How are employment projections developed?

We develop industry projections and convert them to occupations based on staffing patterns gleaned from occupational employment statistic surveys. The occupations-industry matrix displays occupational compositions for each industry for Washington state and Workforce Development Areas.  The matrix is created for occupational projections and is based upon an occupational employment statistics (OES) survey. Industry classification is based on industry control totals (ICT) definitions.

Replacement, separations and alternative methods:

The separations and replacements methods measure workers who leave their occupation and need to be replaced by new entrants into the occupation. The separations method is different in how it estimates workers who leave permanently from the replacement methodology used in previous years.

In the replacement methodology, workers who leave an occupation and are replaced by workers from different age cohorts are considered to have permanently left and are identified as generating replacement openings. Workers replaced by workers from the same age cohort are not identified as generating replacement openings. The inability to track openings generated by replacement workers of the same age cohort causes a significant under-count of openings.

In the separations methodology, workers who exit the labor force or transfer to an occupation with a different Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) are identified as generating separations openings.

Both of these Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) methods track openings created when workers leave occupations, but do not track turnover within occupations. Turnovers within occupations occur when workers stay in occupations, but change employers.

For the 2017 projections cycle, a new state specific alternative method to the BLS replacement and separations methods was created. The alternative method is based on Washington state wage records, making results state specific.

The alternative rate tracks openings created by turnover within occupations (i.e. workers stay within occupations but transfer to different companies) and when workers leave one occupation for another or leave the workforce.

We estimate the numbers of annual transfers between industries, inside industries and in and out of wage files. Then we use occupation-to-industry staffing patterns (shares of occupations for each industry) to convert industry transfers to occupational transfers. Alternative replacement rates are calculated as the shares of total transfers, minus growth or decline, divided by estimated occupational employment for a base period.

Occupational projections

Industry projections
Control totals and matrices

Projections methodology

Appendices 1 through 5 of the employment projections report provide an extended explanation of the methodology for: 1. use and misuse of employment projections, 2. occupations in demand (OID), 3. skill projections, 4. frequently asked questions and 5. glossary.

Report data 

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