I can't seem to find an answer via google.

How do I use bls.gov's employment projection numbers to find a degree or a career worth pursuing?

Mechanical Engineering is projected to have 25,000 jobs available over the next ten years (1). But in the 2015-2016 school year there were 25,000 graduates (2).

There are only 2,500 jobs available per year but 25,000 graduates. So 20 thousand grads are not working as mechanical engineers then?

I can't become an economist as there are only going to be 1600 jobs added over 10 years (3). I could get an economics degree though and become an Analyst of some sorts.

I suppose I am trying to make an informed decision. There are a lot of things I am interested in. But I am having trouble interpreting the data. What is considered a good employment projection number? Is it 25,000? 1,000? Best to only considered jobs with > 100,000 openings?

The lovely dream would be a median income of 80k, top 10% income of 250k. Easy work weeks, plenty of time off. Being able to sleep in and show up to work whenever (working hard when need be). Maybe wear pajamas all day. Oh and a free unicorn as well. Looking forward to your solutions.


(1) https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/mechanical-engineers.htm (2) https://www.asee.org/documents/papers-and-publications/publications/college-profiles/16Profile-Front-Section.pdf (3) https://data.bls.gov/projections/occupationProj

  • $\begingroup$ I think we seem to be ignoring that people also leave the field. There are people retiring, starting companies (thus are not "taking" the engineering posts), etc. In developed countries, the number of graduates is only slightly larger than the number of people leaving. Another thing to look at is that the population for which the job growth is predicted for (say the US) may not be the same as the population for whcih the number of graduates are predicted (say the world). $\endgroup$ – Kavi Vaidya Jun 26 '18 at 11:02

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