Job Trends: Better Overall, But Mixed by Sector

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Overall, the latest jobs data give us reason to feel better that more prosperous days lie ahead. But that’s more true for some people and places than others—as has been the ongoing pattern in recent years.

  • If you benefit from job gains in four specific industries—retail, food service, construction, and health and social services—then life at work and at home should be looking better.
  • If you are affected, however, by job losses in energy, mining, and durable goods manufacturing (related to low oil prices and a strong dollar), then your prospects will remain difficult. That’s especially true for oil states from Louisiana and Texas up to North Dakota.
  • A new twist in November were job cuts in the movie and music industries, which led a falloff in information-related jobs in November. See table for more detail.
Impact @Work: The overall stronger jobs numbers do not translate into better prospects for all businesses. Better growth will occur only by getting better at finding new hot spots and avoiding emerging weak spots.

Hot spots include California, Florida, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington, which have been benefiting from job growth in construction, technology, and business/professional jobs. Weak spots include energy-dependent states such as Alaska, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Wyoming. GO HERE for the last look at state and local job trends.
Impact @Home: If you are looking for work, recognize that the weakest prospects are in energy industries, export manufacturing, and traditional information-related jobs affected by new digital trends.

The best prospects are in construction (especially specialty trades), health care (especially doctors’ offices and home health), restaurants/food service, and in various professional and business fields such as accounting/bookkeeping, computer systems, and management/tech consulting.

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