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Virginia Employment Projections Predict Growth

October 5, 2010

Virginians seeking job opportunities may want to look at the professional, science, technical and health care fields, which are projected to see employment growth over the next eight years.

Recently released data from the Virginia Employment Commission shows overall growth of about 597,900 jobs between 2008 and 2018, an increase of nearly 15 percent. The data comes as the state's unemployment rate hovers around 7 percent, well below the national average of about 9.5 percent.

According to the data, which uses both state and national figures, Virginia is expected to undergo a nearly 41 percent increase in employment in the professional, scientific and technical services industry. That industry includes jobs like accounting, engineering and computer services.

The health care and social assistance industry also is projected to see growth of about 31 percent by 2018, specifically for jobs as home, nursing, psychiatric and personal health care aides.

While the number of jobs is expected to grow, the VEC figures project job losses in various fields such as agriculture, manufacturing, mining and utilities. Job losses are specifically projected in farming, fishing and forestry, as well as textile, metal, plastic and furnishings workers.

The projections can help people see what jobs and skills will be in demand in the coming years and other jobs that will likely be in decline, said Ann Lang, a senior economist with the Virginia Employment Commission.

Lang said the information also can help jobseekers determine what education requirements are needed for certain jobs, and help them get an idea of the wages associated with a specific field or occupation.

Virginia's data follows a national report by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce released in June that predicts most of the state's jobs - about 64 percent - will require more than a high school education by 2018, which is higher than the national average.

Employers nationally are expected to need 22 million new workers with at least some education beyond high school by 2018, but the report said the country is likely to fall short by 3 million.

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