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Thursday, April 27, 2017

What Professions Lose Most Jobs?

I have reported on several occasions about the labor market situation in Wyoming, and it is not a pretty picture. For example, in the past two years we have lost 16,700 private-sector jobs, half of them outside the minerals industry.

The usual way to look at the jobs situation is to do it either by industry or by county. There is a third set of statistics, namely employment by occupation. This type of statistics is hard to come by, especially at the state level; the volume of statistics needed to produce each update is, simply, humungous. It is also a matter of collection method - this type of statistics essentially relies on individual data, as opposed to data at the industrial level. 


As a result of the methodological barrier and resulting high production cost, the Bureau of Labor Statistics only puts out one annual publication, with a minor update halfway through each year.   Fortunately, the updates are disaggregated to the state level and therefore allow us to study at least long-term trends in occupational employment. 

A new release is due in May, which makes this a good time to look at employment by occupation in Wyoming. Together with statistics over employment, the OES data product also offers comprehensive compensation data. For example, here is what it says about employment and annual wages by occupation in Wyoming in 2016 (L means "employed persons" and W stands for "annual wage"):*

Table 1

2016
L W
All Occupations 276,120 $46,840
Management Occupations 11,430 $99,140
Business and Financial Operations Occupations 8,480 $68,180
Computer and Mathematical Occupations 2,650 $62,170
Architecture and Engineering Occupations 4,860 $78,020
Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations 4,200 $56,270
Community and Social Service Occupations 4,090 $46,730
Legal Occupations 1,580 $82,390
Education, Training, and Library Occupations 20,230 $48,230
Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media Occupations 3,070 $41,070
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations 14,300 $77,590
Healthcare Support Occupations 6,630 $31,200
Protective Service Occupations 5,980 $44,820
Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations 25,180 $23,770
Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations 11,670 $28,270
Personal Care and Service Occupations 8,110 $26,570
Sales and Related Occupations 25,320 $36,660
Office and Administrative Support Occupations 36,190 $35,290
Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations 500 $31,580
Construction and Extraction Occupations 27,890 $50,950
Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 17,380 $54,490
Production Occupations 12,770 $52,430
Transportation and Material Moving Occupations 23,600 $43,650



These numbers are interesting in themselves, but they do not tell us much about what is happening in our economy. For that purpose, of course, we need to compare them to previous years. Figure 1 reports changes in employment and wages for these occupation categories from 2014 to 2015, sorted from the category with the biggest employment loss (Community and Social Service Occupations) to that with the biggest gain (Health Care Support Occupations). The blue columns, in turn, represent changes in per-employee average wages:

Figure 1

Ten of the 22 occupational categories saw employment decline. That is bad enough - unfortunately, if we look at the 2015-to-2016 changes, a total of 13 occupations lost jobs:

Figure 2

This time, architects and engineers suffer the biggest losses, with an employment decline of 14.6 percent. Right behind them are "construction and extraction occupations", which obviously includes the minerals industry. They saw a 12.1-percent loss from 2015 to 2016.

On the positive side, last year farming, fishing and forestry occupations saw an employment rise of 8.7 percent, with personal care and service occupations closely behind at 7.6 percent. 

Figures 1 and 2 confirm what I have been pointing to for some time now, namely that it is far from just the minerals industry that has been cutting jobs. For example, the legal profession has been the third biggest jobs loser two years in a row, with -4.8 percent in 2015 and -10.7 percent in 2016. 

In terms of actual employment numbers, over the two-year period 2014-2016, 13 of the 22 occupational categories saw jobs being lost. Table 2 reports employment losses by category:

Table 2

2-yr employment record
Construction and Extraction Occupations -4970
Transportation and Material Moving Occupations -1250
Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations -1080
Management Occupations -770
Architecture and Engineering Occupations -720
Production Occupations -460
Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations -320
Legal Occupations -280
Protective Service Occupations -270
Community and Social Service Occupations -110
Computer and Mathematical Occupations -80
Business and Financial Operations Occupations -60
Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media Occupations -40
Office and Administrative Support Occupations 20
Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations 20
Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations 140
Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations 230
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations 280
Healthcare Support Occupations 290
Education, Training, and Library Occupations 440
Personal Care and Service Occupations 970
Sales and Related Occupations 1440

There is one more angle to this data that is interesting, namely the question whether it is our biggest occupational categories that are losing employment, or if the losses are spread out across all occupations, large and small. Figure 3 has the answer:

Figure 3

In other words, it is not just our "big" occupations that are taking a beating from the depressed economy. Construction and extraction represent 10.1 percent of all employment in Wyoming, with a loss of employment at 12.1 percent in 2016. By contrast, lawyers are only 0.6 percent of our employed workforce, yet that occupational category shrank by 10.7 percent last year. 

The numbers behind Figure 3 are reported in Table 3 below:


Share of total emp Gain or loss in emp
Office, administrative support 13.1% -1.1%
Construction, extraction 10.1% -12.1%
Sales 9.2% 2.3%
Food prep, serving 9.1% 0.4%
Transportation 8.5% -6.8%
Education and related 7.3% 1.3%
Install., Maint. 6.3% -7.2%
Health care practitioners 5.2% 1.1%
Production 4.6% -3.1%
Building and Grounds Maint. 4.2% 2.5%
Management 4.1% -0.8%
Business, Financial 3.1% -3.9%
Personal Care 2.9% 7.6%
Healthcare Support 2.4% -3.6%
Protective Services 2.2% -0.8%
Architects, Engineers 1.8% -14.6%
Life, Phyical, Social 1.5% -5.0%
Community, Social Svcs 1.5% 5.7%
Arts, Sports 1.1% -6.4%
Computers and Math 1.0% 0.0%
Legal 0.6% -10.7%
Farming etc 0.2% 8.7%

The clear message in these numbers is that our economy is hurting across the board. 

More on occupational employment and earnings in about a month. (Yes, I know... can't wait...) 

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