Planning for the Future

A report from the Occupational Outlook Program of the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), states, “Marking informed career decisions requires reliable information about opportunities in the future. Opportunities result from the relationships between the population, labor force, and the demand for goods and services.”

The projections from the research and statistics, for the ten-year period from 2002-2012, show the U.S. population growing, but at a slower rate than both of the two previous ten-year periods. The 16-to-24 age group is expected to grow by 7%, and baby boomers – the group aged 55 to 64 – is expectred to increase the most – over 43%, representing over 11 million persons. But, do you realize that the age group from 35 to 44 will decrease in size?

An increase in total employment is expected, but women’s share of the labor force is projected to increase faster than men. (With more women in the workforce, there will be an increased need for childcare.) By 2012, almost 20% of the labor force in the U.S. is projected to be workers 55 and older.

Of the new wage and salary jobs expected during this current 10-year period, over 96% are expected to be in service-providing industries. Education and health services jobs lead the group and healthcare support occupations are expected to grow the fastest. 10 of the 20 fastest growing occupations are in healthcare. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists healthcare occupations as the 20 with the highest number of increased jobs as well as the 20 fastest growing. Home health aides and personal/home care aides are projected as two categories included in both top 20’s.

These statistics, so diligently acquired, analyzed and made available to us all by the bean counters at BLS, cover a ten-year time period that is now almosst one-third completed. These numbers represent their expectations for what will have happened by 2012, and it is already 2005.

Now, I am sure many of you are wondering what any of this information has to do with diagnostics, or even with you and your practice. To paraphrase the BLS quote in the opening, making informed business decision requires reliable information about opportunities in the future. Are you positioning your practice and your use of diagnostics for the future?

It can be determined, using just a few of the limited statistics given here, that there will be many, many more people employed as home health or personal and home care aides. These can be physically demanding occupations that can require pulling, pushing, bending, reaching and lifting. Does your extended diagnostic repertoire include procedures such as muscle testing, functional capacity evaluations, digital X-ray and biomechanical analysis, musculoskeletal ultrasound or neurodiagnostic testing?

The baby boomer generation, coming of age mostly in the 1960’s, as a group, seem to be more receptive to the options offered by chiropractic and alternative health care. Some disease processes become more prevalent with age, diabetes, hypertension and coronary disease in particular. Do you offer or recommend blood or nutritional testing that could provide early diagnosis to help them avoid additional damage to their health?

It is well known that mechanical and structural problems increase with aging. At least 31 million of the boomers are estimated to still be working in 2012, thus increasing the likelihood they will need your care and the benefits of your extended range of diagnostics to help them maintain their health and to experience optimum recovery.

These are just a few of the projected shifts and transitions that are already taking place in the U.S. population and workforce. Have you positioned your practice and use of diagnostics for the future? The future is now!

Ms. Plank has an extensive background in medical and facilities management. During the past 15 years, Ms. Plank has provided technical and management services to healthcare providers, specializing in radiology and neurology. She is currently the Vice President of Corporate Services for Practice Perfect. Contact here at [email protected], or visit

Leave a Reply