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Where the Jobs Are

By Marty Nemko

Twenty percent of the developed world's employment could be affected by global outsourcing, according to a new study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. These are not just the sorts of jobs we’ve already heard about—for example, customer service, radiologists, accountants, and programmers--but librarians, statisticians, chemical engineers and even air traffic controllers.

Heretofore, large corporations have been the major outsourcers. For example, the New York Times reported that IBM is laying off 13,000 US and European employees and hiring 14,000 in India. And even a growing number of mom-and-pop operations are turning to places like Sri Lanka, China, Mexico and Eastern Europe, for example, to make clothes, jewelry, and software.

But all is not lost for Americans. According to Joel Kotkin, author of Inc. magazine’s “Best Places for Doing Business in America,” more companies are also homeshoring: “seeking workers and suppliers in smaller US cities that aren’t burdened by the exorbitant taxes, housing prices, labor costs and regulatory hurdles seen in many larger cities.” Inc’s Top-10 best places to do business in the US: Reno, NV, Boise, ID, Casper, WY, Green Bay, WI, Medford, OR, Riverside/San Bernardino, CA, Melbourne-Titusville-Palm Bay FL, Missoula, MT, Ft. Myers/Cape Coral, FL, and Jacksonville, FL.

Florida, the state with the most cities on the Inc list has created 250,000 new jobs in the last year. Warren May, spokesman for the state-run Agency for Workforce Innovation says, “Professional and business services such as banking and insurance have been leading the jobs growth. And health care services are right up there because of Florida’s large senior population, and there has been a remarkable turnaround in manufacturing.” Florida’s unemployment rate: 4.4 percent.

And Florida doesn’t even have the nation’s lowest rate. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, these do: Wyoming (2.9%), Hawaii (3.0%), Virginia (3.0%), North Dakota (3.3%) and South Dakota (3.7%).

The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides support for Inc. magazine’s assertion that jobs are moving from the major cities. The cities reporting the highest percentage job growth in the past 12 months: Yuma, AZ (+10.8 percent), St. George, Utah (+9.6%), Las Vegas/Paradise NV (+7.4%), Coeur d’Alene, ID (+6.9%), Blacksburg-Christiansberg-Radford VA (+6.4%) and Mt.Vernon-Anacortes, WA (+5.8%). Among large cities, the worst performer was Detroit (-1.1%.)

The counties showing the largest percentage of job growth are: Rutherford, TN (+9.2%), Clark, NV.(+7.4%), Riverside, CA (+7.2%) Elkhart, IN (+6.8%), Montgomery, TX (+6.6%), Lee, FL. (+61.%), Prince William, VA (+5.8%), Washington, Utah (+5.3%), Loudoun, VA (+5.3%), and Sarasota, FL (+5.1%.)

Of course, even if you move to a hotspot, the job market will be stronger in certain fields. Here are the nationwide biggies:

My favorite: government jobs. Increasingly, private sector firms downsize its “permanent” employees and hire temps, contract workers, or off-shore employees. Today, government is among the last bastions of job security and full benefits. Despite government’s perennial cry of budget woes, in fact, government continues to be the nation’s largest employer and to hire in great quantities. As of this writing, 18,804 federal openings are listed on An additional 10,000 federal openings are posted on individual agency websites, and state and local government websites post thousands more jobs.

According to the US Office of Personnel Management, professional federal openings are likely to be particularly plentiful in:

· Security: (37,505 new hires expected in 2005-2006.) This category includes such positions as fraud investigator, disaster recovery specialist, and food-supply inspector.

· Medical and Public Health (25,756 new hires): This group includes, for example, physicians, physician’s assistants, nurses, pharmacists, medical technologists, and respiratory therapists.

· Science. (23,806 new hires): This category includes engineers, microbiologists, botanists, physicists, astronomers, and veterinary specialists.

· Program Management and Administration (17,373 new hires)

· Accounting, Budget, and Business (12,959 new hires). The IRS is driving growth in this category as it steps up enforcement.

Don’t think you need to move to DC for a federal job. Most are scattered around the country, and a surprising number are overseas.

In the private sector, hiring is especially strong in:

Computer programming, especially in computer security, mobile (cell phones and PDAs), component engineering, and in specialized analysis and programming, for example, in SAP or Oracle.

Accounting, especially if you have Sarbanes-Oxley experience. That anti-fraud law has become a full-employment act for accountants. Experienced cost accountants, junior-level financial and business analysts and degreed senior accountants are all in demand.

Health care: especially registered nurses, pathologists, and other allied health careers such as diagnostic imaging and cardiac testing.

Blue-collar jobs. The decades-long push to encourage more students to attend college has made many people feel that blue-collar work is to be shunned. That has created shortages in high-paying, non-offshoreable careers such as electrician, auto or truck mechanic, and even manufacturing. A study by the National Association of Manufacturers showed that even during the recent recession, 80 percent of manufacturers had a moderate to serious shortage of workers. The group predicts that manufacturers will need up to 10 million new skilled workers by 2020.

According to the Department of Labor, salaries in for medical equipment technicians have risen 36 percent between 2003 and 2004.

Sales and administrative positions in financial service firms such as banks and mutual fund companies.

Any job serving Latinos. Rampant immigration and a birthrate double that of whites and Asians are creating many opportunities for people who speak Spanish. Jobs are especially plentiful in the fields of education, health care, and criminal justice.

Advice I’d Give My Child

Unless you’re desperate, hold out for a job you want in a locale you want, even if not in hot areas. Only after a year of serious job searching should you consider compromising.

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