As the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) marks its 70th birthday in 2019, the Editors at Career Action Resources have assembled this brief look back at its origins and history using information from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website.
The first version of the handbook, called “Occupational Outlook Information,” was issued in August 1946. It was prepared at the request and under the financial support of the Veterans Administration to make information available to returning World War II veterans about the need for general education and for trained personnel in various occupations.
In answer to many requests, an Occupational Outlook Handbook was then published in spring 1949 and sold to the public. Subsequent editions of the Handbook were published in 1951, 1957, 1959, 1961, 1963, and biennially in even-numbered years starting in 1966.
The BLS assembled and wrote the OOH, which became a very big book and a nationally recognized, respected source of career information. With each edition, the BLS updated the 10-year employment projections for hundreds of occupations and made many updates and changes to the in-depth occupational descriptions, plus added new jobs, as the economy changed.
For 2010-11, the BLS published the final OOH print edition. At that point, the OOH went solely online, although some publishers continued to offer printed versions for sale to bookstores, workforce programs, libraries, schools, and other customers.
To this day, the OOH continues to provide comprehensive, up-to-date, and reliable labor market information and descriptions for our economy’s jobs, always with an eye toward the future. It gives essential facts and figures about prospective changes in the world of work and the skills and qualifications that will be needed by tomorrow’s workforce. The OOH has helped millions of Americans plan their education and work lives.
Happy 70th Birthday, OOH!