5 Predictions About the 2016 Job Projections

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

While crunching the numbers for Career Trend, I noticed a couple of things. First, nowhere else on the web – that I'm aware of – has compared historical occupational numbers with projections and plotted them together. (For example, see Software Developers). Second, I noticed that the projections are usually too conservative. When jobs in an occupation are growing strongly, the 10-year projections are noticeably muted. While some regression to the mean is expected, the official Bureau of Labor Statistics projections tend to noticeably undershoot unfolding realities.

With the recent release of the 2016 - 2026 numbers, here are five predictions about the latest batch of projections.

1. Animal care workers will beat the projection

Job trends for animal care workers

Animal care worker jobs have grown incredibly, more than doubling from 134,000 to 296,000 from 2000 to 2016. The 2016-2026 projection calls for about 60,000 additional jobs, an increase of 20 percent. However, the occupation has added nearly that number between 2014 and 2016 alone. While animal care might seem like a luxury good sensitive to economic climate, the occupation continued steady growth during the worst of the recession. It's safe to say animal care workers will beat the projections soundly, even if another recession hits.

2. Operations research analysts will boom beyond the projection

Job trends for operations research analysts

The data revolution in commerce is in full swing, and operations research analysts are a key recipient of the rewards. The occupation has boomed in recent years, growing 50 percent in three years, from 76,000 in 2013 to 114,000 in 2016. The 2026 projection calls for roughly 30,000 additional jobs, less than the 38,000 added since 2013. In 2016, the occupation was only 4,000 jobs short of its 2024 projection, a full eight years early. Operations research analysts will continue to be important for organizations, even during recessions. They are poised to beat the projection, which calls for 27 percent growth over the next 10 years.

3. Childcare workers will continue to decline

Job trends for childcare workers

The number of childcare workers has decreased every year since 2011. Despite this, all the projections since then – including the most recent – call for an increase. It's unlikely the downward trend will turn around, since it's being driven by long-term demographic changes and decreasing numbers of children. Most likely, the occupation will continue to decline gradually, instead of the seven percent increase called for in the 2016 projection.

4. Skincare specialists will beat the projection

Job Trends for skincare specialists

Skincare specialist jobs have grown remarkably in the new millennium, from 19,000 in 2000 to 61,000 in 2016. Its 2026 projection is for 69,000 jobs, an increase of 13 percent. There is no reason to expect growth to slow, amidst an aging population and the increasing reach of lifestyle and beauty brands. In 2016, the occupation is within 1,000 jobs of its 2022 and 2024 projections. It is safe to say skincare specialists will beat the 2026 number comfortably.

5. Bookkeeping clerks will continue losing out due to automation

Job trends for bookkeeping clerks

Bookkeeping clerks are on the losing end of the most recent waves of automation. While the occupation grew steadily from 2000 to 2006, it has declined dramatically since 2008. While it's unlikely for the occupation to disappear completely, it will probably continue its decline. The pressures that have caused the decline will not disappear. The projection of a seven percent decline is in line with recent trends and should be close to accurate.

About the Author

Matthew Theisen is a software engineer and data scientist at Leaf Group. He is the lead researcher for He holds a PhD from UCLA in Bioengineering, specializing in numerical modeling.