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Where Are All These Jobs?


Every week, it seems like we have been giving some positive economic report about employment in the United States.  These tell us that jobs are out there somewhere, but where are they?  Are these jobs any good? Let's take a look at what kind of jobs these are and what fields they are in. 

The employment situation in America today is very different than it was in the 1970's, an era that many of you will remember.  Generally, our economy has moved from jobs based on the manufacturing sector to jobs based in the services sector.  In actuality, we can look at the US economy in terms of 3 sectors: the extraction sector which includes mining and agriculture, the goods producing sector which includes construction as well as durable and non-durable goods, and then the services providing sector which includes wholesale trade, retail trade, utilities, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, professional and business services, education and health services, leisure and hospitality, government, and other services.   

In 1970, the extraction and goods producing sectors accounted for roughly 36% of the total US workforce.  In 2010, that number had dropped to just over 16% of the workforce.  Conversely, the services sector in 1970 accounted for just 64% of all employment.  By 2010 that number had increased to 84% of all employment. 

In terms of GDP, the total contribution from the extraction and goods producing sectors shrank from 31% in 1970 to just 18% in 2010, while the services sector grew from 69% to 82% during that same time period. 

How this affects workforce is more complicated, but lets take a look at it in terms of what industries have the most job openings.  Right now, if you are looking for work, your best bet is to be in the professional or business services profession.  There are approximately 1.08 million job openings in this area, and only 893,000 unemployed people.  An even better situation exists if you are looking for work in healthcare, where there are 910,000 job openings, and only 610,000 unemployed workers.  Rounding out the top five sectors with the most job openings are retail trade, accommodation and food services, and government.  In fact, you have to drop down to #7 on the list to find an area outside of the services sector, where durable goods manufacturing falls.

At the bottom of the list, where there are currently almost no open jobs, is the mining and logging profession.  The 6th worse for numbers of jobs open is in construction.  What makes this sector particularly bad is that there are 4.3 times as many people looking for work as there are open jobs. Also in the top five worst industries for available jobs right now is nondurable goods manufacturing.  The rest of the bottom five is made up of the services sector industries of arts, entertainment and recreation, real estate rental and leasing, and educational services. 

In Florida, our numbers mirror the national numbers to a large degree, with a distinctly Florida slant to them.  In terms of GDP, real estate made up the largest portion economy in 2010, followed by government, and healthcare.  Construction came in 9th at 4.5%, which was down from 7.7% in 2001 thanks to the housing bubble.  It is no surprise that during the period between 2001 and 2010, the healthcare sector in Florida added more jobs than any other sector.  Jobs related to tourism also grew during the last decade, from 11% to 13% of our economy.

So what does all this mean for you?  It means that getting your desired job right now really depends on who you are and what you are looking for.  If you have an advanced degree and work in healthcare or some kind of professional service, chances are you are not having trouble finding employment right now.  On the other hand, if you work in mining or construction, with or without a degree, you probably are not having much luck finding work.  And if you live in Florida and you work in one of those fields, you might be better off trying to find a job in real estate.