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The top 100 Critical Occupation List is longitudinal, focused on job growth in the future and acknowledging the need for extended timeframes to achieve higher levels of education. This list identifies occupations that are in high demand and are projected to have positive future growth.

The methodology for selecting occupations for inclusion in the Top 100 Critical Occupation List is designed to emphasize the state’s desire to meet labor demands so that businesses and entrepreneurs can grow and prosper and Oklahoma citizens can maintain wealth-generating occupations. Factors included in the selection process demonstrate the values of job growth, wealth generation, and education, and are outlined below.

  1. Data on all occupations in Oklahoma was pulled from Emsi (economicmodeling.com). Occupational Data included historical information and future estimates, as projected by Emsi (version 2020.3). All available data was exported, which included years 2001-2028.
  2. The statistical software program STATA was used to compute data. Steps to identify growing occupations are outlined as follows.
    • Three statistics were calculated. First, the total percent change in number of jobs was calculated for each year to the next (e.g., 2001 to 2002, 2003 to 2004, and 2005 to 2006). Then, an average percent change was calculated based on all years. Second, the past rate of change was calculated for the years 2009 to 2019. Third, the forecasted rate of change was calculated for the years 2019 to 2028.
    • After calculating the above statistics, all occupations with less than zero growth were removed.
    • Remaining occupations were checked to assure they were at least .05% of the total jobs in Oklahoma based on total jobs in 2019.
  3. The list developed from Step 2 was filtered on additional factors.
    • Sustainable Wages: Jobs with a median hourly earnings below $15 were removed.
    • Education: Jobs with no formal education with a median wage below $20 were removed from the list.
    • Economic Growth: Jobs that do not foster long term economic growth were systematically removed.
  4. Total number of projected jobs for 2025 were pulled for remaining occupations. The occupations were sorted by total number of jobs in 2025. The top 100 occupations were identified.
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