Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, when occupational life moves from the home to the community, the world of work has undergone great changes in both the number and the kinds of jobs available.
Because of these constant changes, data about existing job opportunities become outdated quickly and productions of future supply and demand require frequent and often drastic modification.
There are rapid fluctuations in the economy, population shifts, changing demand for goods and services, and technological developments.
Government action and international relations are only a few of the many forces, which influence the occupational and employment picture
Fluctuation of economy
One of the most important and most complicated factors influencing the occupational scene
At any time is the general level of the economy.
If times are good, there is a high level of economic activity and there are many opportunities for all kinds of workers. If times are poor, however, there is a mark of I decline in economic activity and unemployment is found in many areas.
One of the most important factors in occupational trends is the growth and composition of the nation’s population.
Changes in the size and characteristics of the population influence the amount and type of goods and services in demand at various times.
Changes in demand, in turn, have a direct bearing on the size of the labor force and the general characteristics of the persons available for work.
Public demand for goods and services
Occupational trends have obvious pertinence to the content of educational and social information.
An anticipated increase or reduction in job opportunities in any occupation or the labor market, in general, carries with its implications for education and training.
Thus, information about training opportunities and orientation to present courses of study must be related to analyses of occupational trends. Facts about jobs of the past and present are relatively easy to obtain.
Predictions of what the future may hold, however, are very difficult to make. It is usually more difficult to obtain long-range forecasts of national and international scope than it is to gather material concerning short-term potential opportunities in the local community.
A local business establishment may be able to supply fairly accurate data on these anticipated labor needs during the next few months, but the needs of similar establishments throughout the nation for the next few years are much more difficult to estimate.
The broader the base in space and time, the greater the chance of error.
Legislation likewise affects occupational demand as well as supply. Various examples could be given of the effect, that laws have upon the occupational world.
Legislative changes covering social security benefits, tariffs, school attendance or child labor laws, immigration, or licensure have had varying but definite influences on the present and future labor supply.
For instance, the Social Security Act has made it possible for older workers to leave the labor force, allowing the younger worker to take over their jobs.
As regards, the Selective Service Act and child-labor laws, if young people by school attendance laws are required to go to school for a certain number of years and then spend one year in the service of their country, their date of entity into the labor market will be at a much later age than the previous generation experienced.
International relations, especially war or threats of war are highly influential, but unfortunately difficult to foresee. Most occupational forecasts are based on the expectation of a relatively stable peacetime economy.
Such predictions are invalidated by the preparation for war or its outsets, as was the case with estimates of the demand for nurses before and during World War II, and for engineers before, during, and after the Korean War.
Another factor of international relations has been the increase in worldwide rather than just nationwide industries.
More workers now have an opportunity to take foreign assignments, resulting in occupational mobility not just across the nation but globally in scope.
Changes in the labor force are affected, especially by increasing automation. An occupational average growth or decline over the years may suggest the future of that occupation, but a technological change can alter the trend directly in a very short time.
Certainly, the demand for various kinds of semi-skilled and unskilled workers will be lessened or eliminated with technological changes in the industry.
Automation has affected occupations of a clerical nature, the job of copyist has been eliminated by the development of the typewriter, and the ranks of clerical workers have been affected by the electronic computer and data-processing equipment.
On the other hand, technological development creates new types of jobs, for skilled workers, are required to produce, operate and service the costly and complex machines.
This introduction of labor-saving machinery and methods has resulted in a shorter workweek, with added hours of leisure in general.
Seasonality f occupations
The seasonality of certain occupations affects occupational opportunities. Those occupations connected with fruit or vegetable growing, canning, and preserving are affected by the growth season of the year. Weather conditions also affect the occupations in the construction industry.
Many other factors enter into the prediction of occupational trends. This gradual depletion of our natural resources, changes in licensing requirements of the availability of expansion capital.
New products and styles, changes in consumers’ liking and disliking business-labor disputes, and management or union policies can all affect the job market.
An increase in the rate, for instance, will affect the employment picture by generating sales of new homes, automobiles, house furnishings, clothes, and various products for infants and children.