A Pennsylvania Internet Resource for Industry Employment and Occupation Projections

The Center for Workforce Information and Analysis (CWIA) in the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry provides employment projections at both the industry and the occupation levels.

Short-term and long-term online industry projections and demand occupations are provided for each of the state’s 22 Workforce Investment Areas (WIAs), which include all 67 counties in the Commonwealth.

Overview: Employment and Occupation Projections Can Help Identify Workforce Needs

Other tools in this series have focused on answering questions such as “What jobs are the basis of our economy?” and “How has our economy changed over time?” While this information is important for understanding current local economic conditions, it provides somewhat limited insights into the question “What are the expected growth industries and occupations in our local economy?”.

Employment and occupational projections for Pennsylvania, the 22 WIAs and 14 Metropolitan Statistical Areas are available from the Center for Workforce Information and Analysis (CWIA) in the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. Employment and occupation projections for the nation and other states are available from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some Key Definitions

This tool introduces resources for analyzing employment growth at both the industry and occupation level.

  • An industry refers to a productive sector of the economy, such as manufacturing.
  • An occupation refers to a particular job title or skill.

Industry Employment Projections

Short-Term Industry Employment Projections

CWIA provides short-term industry forecasts (2 years) for each of the Commonwealth’s 22 workforce investment areas and Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Short-term industry forecasts are produced by software designed by America’s Labor Market Information System (ALMIS), which was tested and further refined through a consortium of states. Projections are produced at the two-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) level for each WIA.

Short-term industry forecasts display the likely industry employment trends within a specific geographic area. The ALMIS models used to produce the industry forecasts rely on historical patterns, leading economic indicators, and the relationships among different industries. The model provides quarterly employment projections. Table 1 shows sample output.

Table 1. South Central Workforce Investment Area—Number of Jobs.
Industry Average Establishments July August September Average
Total, All Industries 31,942 627,768 632,345 632,774 630,962
Accommodation and Food Services 2,778 50,911 51,486 49,711 50,703
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting 385 5,018 5,343 5,883 5,415
Finance and Insurance 1,734 27,589 27,713 27,526 27,609
Real Estate and Rental and Leasing 915 5,538 5,534 5,387 5,486
Retail Trade 4,322 70,476 70,747 69,819 70,347
Transportation and Warehousing 1,150 42,470 43,510 44,984 43,655

Data which might be identified with an individual employer are not published.
Note data aggregated by Workforce Investment Area (WIA)

Long-Term Industry Employment Projections

CWIA also provides long-term industry projections (10 years) for the state, the 22 WIAs and 14 Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Like the short-term forecasts, long-term industry projections are produced using the ALMIS software. Projections are produced at the four-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes and titles level with the appropriate three-digit and Major Industry Division aggregations. The model provides 10-year employment projections. Table 2 shows sample output.

Table 2. South Central Workforce Investment Area—Industry Employment.
Industry Title Employment - Estimated 2012 Employment - Projected 2022 Change: Number Annual Average Percent Change Total Percent Change
Total, All 680,420 734,870 54,450 0.77% 8%
Business & Financial Operations 33,300 36,260 2,960 0.86% 8.89%
Community & Social Services 15,040 16,300 1,260 0.81% 8.38%
Education, Training & Library 33,820 35,210 1,390 0.40% 4.11%
Farming, Fishing & Forestry 8,220 8,140 -80 -0.10% -0.97%
Legal 4,980 5,440 460 0.89% 9.24%
Management 32,120 33,550 1,430 0.44% 4.45%
Office & Administrative Support 109,860 113,620 3,760 0.34% 3.42%
Sales & Related 63,630 66,370 2,740 0.42% 4.31%
Transportation & Material Moving 62,250 69,020 6,770 1.04% 10.88%

Totals may not add up due to rounding.
Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, PA Workforce Statistics

The tool utilizes an Industry Projections Dashboard that allows the user to:

  • Produce Local Area to State Comparisons
  • Create Geographical or Industry Groupings of Interest
  • Export Excel Files for Further Review
  • Design Custom Reports and Charts

Long-Term Occupation Projections

Industry employment projections are useful in identifying areas of strength as well as new opportunities. However, an industry focus does not provide a complete picture of demand for workers in the local job market. The fact that industry-level data does not provide information on the expected growth in particular occupations or skills illustrates this. Thus, even though analysis may identify that an industry is growing, it does not necessarily provide information on the specific types of jobs that are growing. Occupation projections can help you understand what types of jobs will be in demand.

For example, suppose you are a workforce educator and, using the long-term industry projections, have identified that your local banking industry is expected to show tremendous growth. Hoping to capitalize on this growth, you have decided to develop an economic development strategy that nurtures this industry. One question you might ask is “What are the industry’s workforce needs?”

While the banking industry projections show broad trends, they do not provide insight into what specific types of jobs are growing. It may be the case that the growth will result in an increase in the number of bank tellers; or, it could be that the number of mortgage personnel is expected to increase. Because these occupations require different worker skills and knowledge, both individuals and practitioners need to know which specific occupations are growing. With this understanding, proper workforce training and education strategies can be developed.

Occupation projections for Pennsylvania at the state level, Workforce Investment Areas, Metropolitan Statistical Areas and some counties are available from the Center for Workforce Information and Analysis (CWIA) in the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. Information is returned on a 10-year projected growth. Sample output for Pennsylvania is shown in Table 3.

Table 3. Select Occupation Projections for Pennsylvania – 2012-2022.
Title 2012 Estimated Employment 2022 Projected Employment Total 2012-2022 Employment Change Annual Avg. Percent Change Total Percent Change
Total, All 6,046,560 6,514,500 467,940 0.75% 7.74%
Architecture & Engineering 96,290 105,430 9,140 0.91% 9.49%
Business & Financial Operations 281,100 309,430 28,330 0.96% 10.08%
Healthcare Practitioners & Technical 361,300 420,790 59,490 1.54% 16.47%
Office & Administrative Support 973,660 1,001,340 27,680 0.28% 2.84%


Sample output for the South Central WIA for 2012 - 2022 are shown in Table 4.

Table 4. Projections for Selected Occupations in South Central WIA Pennsylvania for the 2012 - 22
Occupational Title Estimated Employment 2012 Projected Employment 2022 Percent Change Openings: Due to Growth1 Openings: Due to replacement2 Openings: total3
Total, All Occupations 680,420 734,870 8.0% 5,897 16,096 21,993
Management Occupations 32,120 33,550 4.5% 200 632 832
Top Executives 9,270 9,920 7.0% 66 180 246
Chief Executives 2,100 2,150 2.4% 5 45 50
General & Operations Managers 6,910 7,510 8.7% 59 129 188
Legislators 250 270 8.0% 1 6 7
Advertising, Marketing, Promotions, Public Relations & Sales Managers 1,850 2,000 8.1% 15 40 55
Advertising & Promotions Managers 100 100 0.0% 0 3 3
Marketing Managers 520 590 13.5% 7 11 18
Sales Managers 950 1,000 5.3% 5 20 25
Public Relations & Fundraising Managers 280 300 7.1% 2 6 8

1 Labor force growth openings, except for cases of negative growth where growth openings are expressed as zero.
2 Labor force net replacements due to death, retirement, disability, or withdrawal for personal reasons.
3 Total openings equal replacements plus annual growth.

High Priority Occupations

A list of High-Priority Occupations for the state, Workforce Investment Areas and Metropolitan Statistical Areas are available from the Center for Workforce Information and Analysis (CWIA) in the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. Information provided includes educational attainment, average annual wage and annual openings for occupations that are in demand by employers, have higher skill needs and are most likely to provide family sustaining wages. This information is intended to align workforce training and education investments with high priority occupations. Table 5 shows sample output.

Table 5. 2014 High-Priority Occupations for South Central Workforce Investment Area
SOC Code Occupation Occupational Group Educ. Attain. Annual Average Wage Annual Openings


Accountants & Auditors Business/Financial


$65,230 174


Automotive Body & Related Repairers



$43,590 25


Automotive Service Technicians & Mechanics



$36,580 163


Bill & Account Collectors

Office & Administrative Support


$34,360 31


Billing & Posting Clerks

Office & Administrative Support


$32,580 57


Biological Technicians

Life/Physical/Social Science


$42,840 5


Bookkeeping, Accounting & Auditing Clerks

Office & Administrative Support


$35,510 139


Brick masons & Block masons



$44,980 25


Bus & Truck Mechanics & Diesel Engine Specialists



$42,740 66


Butchers & Meat Cutters



$30,600 41


Cardiovascular Technologists & Technicians

Healthcare Professionals


$54,360 11


Career/Technical Education Teachers, Secondary School



$64,010 15


Cargo & Freight Agents

Office & Administrative Support


$42,440 12

Source: Center for Workforce Information & Analysis, Occupational Employment Statistics Survey (2013) and Employment


Industry Employment Projections

CWIA employment projections by industry forecast the anticipated changes within an industry over time. The local forecasts are based on past regional employment trends within each industry (indeed, the model is basically a fancy version of the charting method described in Tool 2). The effects of state-level economic trends are also considered. Preliminary employment forecasts are initially produced using a family of statistical models. Analysts then review preliminary industry employment forecasts and make adjustments based on local and state developments that may occur over the forecast period.

All Occupation Projections (State-Level)

The state-level occupation projections build on the industry employment projections. Specifically, industry-staffing patterns are used to convert industry employment to occupational employment via a two-step process. First, staffing pattern data is used to specify the percentage of a particular occupation within an industry; for example 65 percent of employees in the banking industry work as tellers. The percentages for each occupation are multiplied by industry employment to produce occupation employment for that industry.

Occupation projection for industry (i) = employment projection for industry (i) x occupation’s share of total employment in industry (i)

(example: 650 tellers = 1,000 projected jobs in the banking industry x 65% of bank employees are tellers)

In the second step, total occupation projections are determined simply by adding occupation projections across industries.

Total projected occupation employment = sum of occupation employment for all industries.

Demand Occupation Projections (WIA-Level)

CWIA demand occupations identification process begins by identifying the top 25 growing industries by employment for each WIA. The CWIA supplements this data by evaluating hiring trends for the area. From this data, the top 75 occupations are identified. When available for the area, employment projections are used to add those occupations that show a minimum of 20 projected openings per year. The list is also expanded by listing occupations recognized as demand occupations based on the knowledge of regional analysts. This list is not meant to be all inclusive, and local experts can also provide occupations that may be added to the list.

How This Information Is Used in Economic and Community Development

Knowing future industry and occupation trends helps community and economic development practitioners understand their local economy, foster compatible growth, and promote local strengths. People looking for work and those doing training, counseling, and/or job placement may use the industry projections to learn about employment opportunities in various industries. Still, when interpreting this information, keep the following points in mind:

  1. The level of aggregation matters. If broad projections indicate declining employment, it may be that only one or two industry sectors are experiencing the decline and other sectors may still be expected to grow. For example, retail trade has several components, including building materials and garden supplies; general merchandise stores; food stores, automotive dealers and service stations; and apparel and accessory stores. Thus, investigating all sectors of the industry is best.
  2. Turnover creates opportunities. Although an industry may be stable and is not expected to grow, it does not mean that there are no opportunities for employment. Individuals change or leave their jobs permanently for varying reasons. High turnover, especially in industries that require lower skill levels, means that there are frequent openings even though there is little or no growth.
  3. Industries have varying levels of growth. Not all industry sectors, such as those in retail trade or in services industries, grow at the same rate; nor are all sectors located in every county.
  4. Location matters! If an individual is considering relocating within the state, the size of the industry and its expected growth level needs to be kept in mind. Often, small rural counties will not have the same opportunities that are available in larger metropolitan areas.

A Few Caveats

  • Remember that these data are estimates. The projections are developed assuming that historical trends will continue into the future. However, unpredictable events may occur over the course of the projection period, adversely affecting projection accuracy. For example, an unexpected major business closure or opening or a natural disaster can have a substantial impact on employment levels.
  • Long-term employment projections data are annual averages. These averages may not accurately portray seasonal occupations or industries such as those found in agriculture, retail sales, and recreation.
  • Projected employment levels reflect only those workers who are covered by the unemployment insurance program. As a result, industries made up largely of individuals who are self-employed will be understated. Examples include industries such as real estate, hair salons, and bookkeeping.
  • Do not use these projections as your sole source of information. Supplement the projections data with other, more recent sources of local economic data. Useful information may be found in other documents such as those published by local chambers of commerce or local economic development agencies.

Keep in mind that projections are just one planning tool and that the estimates are based on information available at the time the forecast was made.

For More Information

Additional information on industry employment and occupation projections is available from a number of sources. At the state level, these sources include:

  • Center for Workforce Information and Analysis, Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry . CWIA is Pennsylvania’s designated provider of employment statistics. Their goal is to provide users with the most current data available to help with decision making and to assist in meeting local planning needs.
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). BLS produces employment and wage estimates for over 700 occupations. These are estimates of the number of people employed in certain occupations and estimates of the wages paid to them. Self-employed persons are not included in the estimates. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, individual states, and metropolitan areas; national occupational estimates for specific industries are also available.
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook, a nationally recognized source of career information, designed to provide valuable assistance to individuals making decisions about their future work lives. Revised every two years, the Handbook describes what workers do on the job, working conditions, the training and education needed, earnings, and expected job prospects in a wide range of occupations.
  • Projections Central: State Occupation Projections Projections Central provides Long-Term and Short-Term Projections for all states and the nation as a whole. Projected employment growth for an occupation can be compared among states. Projected occupation employment growth among occupations can be compared within one state.

Prepared by Martin Shields, assistant professor of agricultural and regional economics.

1 In 1998, Pennsylvania implemented federal legislation known as the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. This legislation was adopted to coordinate and improve employment, training, and education systems. The legislation also mandated the creation of local workforce investment boards as the vehicle to develop and ensure the implementation of a unified and effective strategy for addressing workforce development issues and meeting service delivery needs.

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A Pennsylvania Internet Resource for Industry Employment and Occupation Projections

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