Future Work(ers)

“How can we prepare today to create enough good jobs for tomorrow?” was the question posed by NC State’s Institute for Emerging Issues during their summer FutureWork Prosperity Tour. This tour—and the preceding FutureWork conference—focused on the combined impacts of anticipated technological change and demographic shifts. Today’s post highlights some of the projected impacts of demographic change on the state’s workforce.

Projected employment growth will exceed working age population growth.

Between 2012 and 2022, North Carolina is projected to create nearly 550,000 new jobs. Over the same time period, the state is projected to gain just over 500,000 new working-age residents, 50,000 fewer than projected job growth.

This difference may not indicate a projected labor shortage. Individuals are increasingly working longer and many of these jobs may be filled by individuals ages 65 and over. In addition, individuals can, and often do, hold multiple jobs.

Employment in agriculture will decline; food service and health care jobs will increase.

The two occupations with the largest predicted numeric decreases between 2012 and 2022 are agricultural: farmers (-9,800) and farmworkers and laborers (-3,000). Sewing Machine Operator is the occupation with the third largest predicted numeric decrease (-2,800). Each of these positions is vulnerable to mechanization and technological advancement. Sewing operators and other textile industry positions are also vulnerable to the impacts of globalization.

At the same time, the state is projected to need 21,000 additional food service workers by 2022; 19,500 additional home health aides; and 17,900 additional registered nurses. Demand for these occupations increases with population growth, and the aging population will create additional demand for healthcare workers.

Future workers are significantly more diverse than likely retirees.

Individuals age 55 to 64 in 2012 will be 65 to 74 in 2022, making them likely to retire at some point in the next decade. They will be replaced by individuals who age into the workforce (those age 5-14 in 2012). Compared to likely retirees, future workers are more likely to be Hispanic (14% vs. 3%), black (23% vs. 20%), and identify as multiracial (4% vs. 1%).

Future workers more diverse than likely retirees

Click here for a detailed state profile.

Data sources: Occupational projections for 2022 were retrieved from the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Labor and Economic Analysis Division. Population projections for 2022 were retrieved from North Carolina’s Office of State Budget and Management. All other data were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 population estimates.

About Rebecca Tippett

Rebecca Tippett is Director of Carolina Demography at UNC-Chapel Hill's Carolina Population Center.
This entry was posted in Carolina Demographics, Carolina Economic Data and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.