Occupational Projections Definitions

Employment 2014:

The base year of the forecast cycle. Base-year employment estimates are required to develop the employment projections and the base-year employment matrix.

Employment 2024:

The target, or ending, year of the forecast cycle. In order to produce target-year occupational projections, a change factor is developed and applied to each occupation. An occupational staffing pattern is then applied to the projected industry total of each occupation to give a target-year occupational projection.

Percent Change:

Numeric change divided by the base year employment. This number can be deceptive. A large percentage change does not necessarily mean a large number of jobs. For instance, if the base year for an occupation is 20 and the forecast year shows an increase of 10, it is a 50 percent increase. In reality, it is only 10 jobs.

Growth Openings:

Employment opportunities created by increased demand for an occupation are considered growth openings. For occupations that are declining in employment during the forecast period, the number of growth openings will equal zero.

Replacement Openings:

Replacement openings occur when a worker leaves an occupation, creating a vacancy for another worker to fill. Replacement openings are a subset of turnover openings, which occur whenever an employee leaves a job. However, not all turnovers create a replacement opening. If an employee takes a job with a new employer but remains in the same occupation, then no replacement opening was created. Replacement openings occur in both growing and declining occupations.

Total Openings:

Total openings are simply the sum of growth and replacement openings for an occupation. Because neither growth nor replacement openings can be less than zero, total openings will never be negative.

Mean Wage:

The estimated total wages for an occupation divided by its weighted survey employment. It is sometimes referred to as the “weighted average.”

Standard Occupational Classification System (SOC):

Alaska’s Occupational Database (ODB) uses the SOC occupational classification system. The SOC system categorizes over 800 occupations into 23 major occupational groups.