Yes, the economy is shedding jobs overall. Two sectors are bucking the trend.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) figures showed we’ve lost almost two million jobs this year, and the unemployment rate is creeping toward 7%. Still, if you look in the right places, jobs are available.
Health services. The job market in health care is healthy. Consider:
- In the last 12 months, the industry has added 369,000 jobs.
- In November alone — a real down period for the overall job market — employment in the health field expanded by 34,000 full-time positions.
- The placement firm of Challenger, Gray & Christmas said it has an abundance of openings in health-services firms, such as pharmaceutical makers.
- Nursing schools are gearing up for the surge, too. The Columbia University School of Nursing reports that applications are up 50% from last year, as students get wind of the openings and opportunities in the field.
Education. Learning is hot. As the job market tightens, more and more people — to increase their marketability — head back to school to sharpen their skills or learn new ones. And education providers are anticipating that Washington will loosen up on grants and other types of funding to workers who are trapped in failing industries.
The numbers: While not quite as robust as health care, the figures for education hiring still are strong. DOL’s figures show the sector added 9,800 jobs in November — many of which were in nonteaching, support roles.
The weak spots
A lot of sectors suffered in November, but the DOL’s figures show which industries took the biggest job hits:
- Manufacturing jobs were down 85,000 for the month and 604,000 since the beginning of the year.
- Openings in construction dropped by 82,000 for the month; the industry has seen a total drop of 780,000 since the peak employment period of September 2006.
- As people whittle down their budgets to the essentials, fewer take vacations: Employment in the leisure and hospitality field fell by 76,000 jobs in November. Especially hard hit were restaurants and other food-service providers.