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Website of the Week: Occupational Outlook Handbook


Time again for our Website of the Week, and this time we feature an online document that is an important resource for job seekers and a window on trends in the American economy.

The U.S. government is perhaps the world’s biggest collector of information. At one time, getting your hands on it meant a trip to a library, or buying a book. Increasingly, though, that data is now available online and for free. Today we’re highlighting one of the more popular and accessible collections.

"The Occupational Outlook Handbook is probably the nation's leading career guidance resource. It's a compendium of vocational guidance information on a wide range of occupations," said Chet Levine, the senior economist who oversees the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

It is published every two years, in print and — for the past 10 years or so — online, at bls.gov/oco. The Handbook includes specific information about hundreds of occupations, from architect to zookeeper, with detailed explanations about the nature of the work, necessary training, working conditions, pay and growth prospects for that job — for example, school teacher.

"There's an extremely high demand for math, science, foreign language, and bilingual education teachers," said Levine. "In general, job opportunities for teachers should be excellent over the next 10 years."

Economists from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which publishes the Outlook, analyze a wide variety of information to project the future trend for each occupation. Chet Levine suggested that reading about each job really gives you an interesting portrait of the nation as a whole.

"It could relate to technological changes, demographic changes, changes in the way businesses behave, and a wide range of other factors… so yes, factors can resonate throughout the economy."

This would be a great resource if you're thinking about studying in the United States, and or coming here to work. It's also fascinating to read about the different occupations people have, what they do, and how they're paid. The Occupational Outlook Handbook is online at bls.gov/oco, or you can get the link from our site, voanews.com.

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