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Future jobs much like current jobs

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Snapshot for December 19, 2007.

Future jobs much like current jobs

by Lawrence Mishel

There are many claims that the skills and education of the workforce are not sufficient to meet the needs of the jobs of the future. This is clearly not true according to the new Bureau of Labor Statistics’ projections of employment for the year 2016.1

The occupational structure of 2006 required that 27.7% of employees have an education at the college degree or higher level. The projected occupational structure in 2016 dictates that 28.7% of employees have a college degree or more at that time, a rise of just 1 percentage point over the next 10 years (see Chart). The share of workers needing ‘some college’ is projected to not grow at all. Given that 30% of the workforce already has a college degree or more and that education levels will continue to increase, it does not seem that there is any gross inadequacy of workforce education, to say the least, relative to the jobs being created.

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Education requirements of current and future jobs, 2006-16

On the other hand, there are clear issues of a lack of opportunity of lower- and middle-income students having access to and completing a college education.

1. Based on the education levels of 753 occupations in 2004 and the shares of employment in 2006 and 2016. BLS projections at:

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