Will the U.S. job market finally turn the corner in 2014? And, if so, what will be the hottest careers as the economy improves?
Many experts say employment will continue to improve in the coming year. Kiplinger’s Economic Outlook 2014 estimated that net job growth will see an uptick from about 180,000 a month this year to roughly 200,000 a month in 2014. That trend would push the unemployment rate near 7 percent — a vast improvement from the recession during which joblessness topped 10 percent.
The job market appears to be improving across the country. In November, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 42 states had unemployment rates decrease compared to a year before, while just 5 states showed no change.
And a recent Los Angeles Times article painted a downright rosy picture for job growth and the economy, noting that “The overall economic outlook for the U.S. has improved sharply in recent weeks amid a string of surprisingly robust economic data.” The article noted increases in hiring, factor orders and consumer spending.
Of course, job prospects will vary depending on industry, location and a range of other factors. Yet, certain sectors and industries are well positioned to experience a more significant surge in hiring. Here is a look at the sectors that hold the most promise in 2014.
Healthcare: Occupations and industries related to healthcare are likely to add the most new jobs between now and 2022, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Healthcare and social assistance sector is projected to grow at an annual rate of 2.6 percent, driven in large part by the aging U.S. population.
Construction: The housing market is seeing improvement in most parts of the country, and businesses are putting expansion plans in motion. Those trends will mean improved job prospects for those in construction. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts construction jobs will grow at 2.6 percent annually through 2022.
IT: Computer Economics recently polled 137 IT organizations worldwide, with 82 of those headquartered in North America. The results painted a promising picture for IT hiring in 2014, with 49 percent expecting to increase hiring, and 42 percent anticipating no change. Only 9 percent reported plans to cut back on staffing. InformationWeek recently reported that candidates with big data or SAP database skills are expected to be in the biggest demand, while skilled software developers can also expect a market full of opportunities.
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Energy: The energy sector will continue to be hot in 2014, with increased job opportunities in oil and gas as well as sustainable energy. The Ecotech Institute predicts that green jobs will grow, providing opportunities for clean-tech leaders, educators, students, and other job seekers. Meanwhile, increased exploration and production of natural gas is also expected to drive strong job creation.
While the sectors listed above likely hold the most promise for the year ahead, the fact that most experts anticipate the overall economy and job market to improve bodes well for just about any job seeker to see improved opportunities in 2014.