Making plans after high school

Uncovering labor market information can help focus your efforts on a career path.

Do you ever wonder what you are going to do after high school? Should you get a job, go to a trade school, enroll in college, join the military, start a business or volunteer as an AmeriCorps or Peace Corps member? Although these are not all the options, they are some of the most common. With so many possibilities, making a decision on what path to pursue can be difficult. Each route requires a significant time commitment to complete and with some options comes considerable financial costs. The road will become less foggy the clearer you are about your career goals.

Uncovering labor market information can help you navigate through this journey to a career pathway that is aligned with your interests, skills and values.

What kinds of information can I find about the labor market?

  • What industries are growing and declining?
  • What are the education and training requirements for different occupations?
  • What knowledge, skills and abilities are employers looking for in certain industries?
  • What work styles, values and interests are commonly found in specific occupations?
  • Where do I find employers who are hiring?
  • How many hours do people work and how much do they earn for their work?
  • What employment trends are happening locally and nationally?
  • What are working conditions like for specific industries?
  • How many people are without work and looking for work?
  • What factors can stop you from getting a job?

Where can I find labor market information?

One major source of labor market information is the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is the main information-gathering agency for the federal government who provides reports on our nation’s economy. As an independent national statistical agency, each month the Bureau of Labor Statistics surveys thousands of businesses and individuals to compile and analyze data on employment, unemployment, wages, labor force characteristics and pricing. This information is then made available to federal, state and local government, businesses and the general public to help them make informed decisions.

Two Bureau of Labor Statistics publications that may be of particular interest to students, parents, job seekers, and career counselors are the “Occupational Outlook Handbook” and the newly named and designed “Career Outlook.” Here you can explore the fastest growing occupations, search for jobs by education or pay, check out data on display or read about an interview with a specific worker’s career path in a question-and-answer format.

Michigan State University Extension  and Michigan 4-H Youth development also offer trainings, articles and resources to help people explore careers and prepare for the workforce.

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